The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition which sought to transfer the sedition case against Amulya Leona to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“What is so special that the investigation should be transferred to NIA?”, the Court asked.
Amulya had been arrested in February 2020 for allegedly raising a ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan at an anti-CAA protest in Bangalore. She was released on bail in June after the police failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated time period of 90 days.
Advocate Vishala Raghu had filed a petition seeking an NIA probe against Amulya Leona, to ascertain whether the 19-year-old student had ‘any links to terrorist organisations’. The advocate also asked for a cancellation of her bail, alleging that her case was ‘serious’ and concerned ‘national integrity’. A single judge had referred this petition to a division bench.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice HP Sandesh, who heard the matter, refused to grant the prayer of the petitioner. The bench stated; “Is it not the indefeasible right of the accused to be released on bail if charge sheet is not filed within the stipulated time? How can you make a prayer for cancellation of bail?”
The Court ruled that; “looking into the nature of allegations made in the FIR, we do not think that this is a case where extraordinary jurisdiction is to be exercised for transferring the case to NIA. In a writ petition in the nature of Public Interest Litigation, it is not possible to consider the prayer enjoining the respondents to apply for cancellation of bail of the accused and to conduct a disciplinary inquiry against the respondent (investigating officer)”.
This is a welcome decision from the judiciary, in the context of increasing arrests of students/activists and the heightened repression of dissent.