In the controversial case over an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act drama at Shaheen Primary School in Bidar, Karnataka, a Sessions Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to all the five school management representatives who were charged with sedition.
Stating that the play against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has "not caused any disharmony in the society", the court cited lack of material for a prima facie case of sedition. The Indian Express reported that in the anticipatory bail orders passed on March 3, the court said that the "content of play doesn't attract Section 124A of IPC (sedition) prima facie ''.
"What the children have expressed is that they will have to leave the country if they do not produce documents; except that, there is nothing to show that they have committed the offence of sedition," District Judge Managoli Premavathi observed.
Abdul Qadeer, 60, president of Shaheen Group of Institutions; school headmaster Allauddin, 40; and three members of the school management committee were granted anticipatory bail by the court with a personal bond of ₹2 lakh each.
The court also granted bail to Mohammed Yousuf Rahim, a local journalist who filmed the play and posted it through his Facebook, was also granted anticipatory bail.
"On careful perusal of the information and other records, it is found that the artist spoke derogatory words —of using chappal against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On a plain reading of the content extracted above, which were used by children in the drama, it is found that through the drama they protested against CAA and NRC, and the drama has been played in the school function." Judge Premavathi ruled.
She said that prosecution only extracted the portion of the play and termed it as offensive. However, if read as a whole, the play doesn't attract Section 124A of IPC (sedition). "The dialogue, in my considered opinion, does not go to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection towards the government. If it were not uploaded on Facebook, the public would not (even) have come to know about the dialogues of that drama. The drama has not caused any disharmony in the society,'' the court ruled.
The Judge stated that there are rallies and protest going on in the country "for and against CAA, NRC", and it is the right of each citizen to express disapproval with the government's measures "with a view to obtaining their alteration by lawful means". The court also said that PM Modi himself would have to complain about dialogues in the play to attract IPC Section 504.
The case was registered on January 26 based on a complaint by a local activist Neelesh Rakshyal. The Bidar police then registered a first information report and invoked IPC Sections 124A (Sedition), section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups), and section 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace)
Also Read: Bidar Sedition Case: Student Shifted To School-Run Hostel After Child Welfare Committee's Intervention