“Is There Any Evidence Or We Have to Work on Surmises?’
Disha Ravi gets bail
Justice has been delivered but the few words that Disha Ravi’s mother said to the media after her daughter got bail, speak volumes. Of the tension and the fear that overtook the family ever since Ravi was picked up by the Delhi police, the serious charges slapped against her, the nights in police custody and in Tihar jail..
Manjula Nanjaiah, Ravi’s mother, simply said that she could not wait to hug her daughter. And that parents should always stand by their children. She shrugged away questions about her courage, saying it was her daughter who was courageous, who she had realised through these rough days was in herself a pillar of strength. “She is bold” said the mother with a sense of wonderment as she waits for her girl to get back.
In all this is a story of sheer courage with Disha Ravi withstanding mighty pressure, as the police shifted her from the world of a passionate young activist to that of a criminal accused of a conspiracy against the state. And that too initially without a lawyer, where she was called upon to defend herself in the first moments of the trauma of arrest.
“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to deny bail", Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana of the Patiala House courts noted."My query is...is there any evidence, or are we required to merely work on surmises, conjectures?", the judge wanted to know.
"If I've approached a dacoity for donations, can the imputation of dacoity be invoked against me also?"Judge Rana went on to ask.
The bail order made six significant points given the backdrop of the campaign of calumny in sections of the media to vilify the young woman:
1. Creation of a Whatsapp Group or being the “editor of an innocuous Toolkit” is not an offence.
2. It is difficult to collect evidence to prove conspiracy but it is virtually impossible for the defence to prove it in the negative.Individual liberty cannot be further restricted “on the basis of propitious anticipations.”
3. Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies. Difference of opinion,disagreement, divergence, dissent, or for that matter, even disapprobation, are recognised legitimate tools to infuse objectivity in state policies. An aware and assertive citizenry, in contradistinction with an indifferent or docile citizenry, is indisputably a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy.This 5000 years old civilization of ours has never been averse to ideas from varied quarters.
4. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments".
5. The right to dissent is firmly enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution. There are no geographical barriers in communication within the four corners of law.
6. Any person with dubious credentials may interact with a number of persons during the course of his social intercourse.As long as the engagement/interaction remains within the four corners of law, people interacting with such persons,ignorantly,innocently or for that matter even fully conscious of their dubious credentials, cannot be painted with the same hue.