In a major relief for eight men, who had participated in the anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Registration of Citizenship Act (NRC), the Bombay High Court granted them pre-arrest bail. The HC noted that the allegation against them of vandalising and damaging vehicles, was not proved in absence of any evidence.
A bench of Justice Mukund Sewlikar was petitioned by these eight men, three of whom are senior citizens, seeking anticipatory bail as they were apprehending their arrests at the hands of the Aurangabad city police.
The prosecution case against these men was that in December 2019, they participated in a protest called out by a Muslim NGO against the passing of the CAA and NRC bills by the Union government. The cops at the outset claimed that the protests were illegal since no one obtained a prior permission from the Superintendent of Police.
Further, the prosecution alleged that while the protests were initially peaceful, however, as they reached towards the statue of Shivaji Maharaj, with banners and placards in their hands, all the protestors started chanting slogans against prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. And subsequently, as per the prosecution's case, the protestors became violent and started blocking the vehicular traffic, abusing the cops on duty and even vandalised the public property including vehicles.
Accordingly the prosecution urged the judge to reject their applications.
Having heard the contentions, Justice Sewlikar said "On perusal of papers, it is noticed that the protest was organized without obtaining prior permission from the Superintendent of police. It is seen that the spot panchanama has not been prepared to show that the vehicles were damaged."
"Therefore, there is no evidence to show that the vehicles were damaged. Also, from the contents of the the FIR, it appears that custodial interrogation of the applicants is not necessary. In this view of the matter, I am inclined to grant them pre-arrest bail," the judge ruled.