Disha Ravi, accused of offences under Section 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) of the IPC was granted bail by additional sessions judge Dharmendra Rana. In the bail hearing last week, Judge Rana had asked several pointed questions to the Delhi Police as to why bail should be denied to the accused and asked for the investigators to supply the court with more evidence that directly connects to Ravi and the conspiracies she has been accused of.
However, the Delhi Police’s arguments did not resonate with the court, which, in a strong-worded and interesting ruling, granted bail to Disha Ravi. “The perusal of the said ‘toolkit’ reveals that any call for any kind of violence is conspicuously absent. In my considered opinion, citizens are conscience keepers of the government in any democratic nation. They cannot be put behind bars simply because they choose to disagree with the state’s policies. The offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments,” Judge Rana ruled.
This was sufficient for all hell to break loose among India’s liberal quarters. A section of media could not help but jump in excitement over bail being granted to Disha Ravi. What they failed to note, however, is that in Indian democracy, ‘bail not jail’ is the rule.
Moreover, a bail for Ravi, complemented with a strongly-worded ruling in her favour is being spun around as if the accused has been acquitted of all charges. All this, while the Judge has himself noted that Delhi Police’s investigation is still in its nascent stage. As such, having Ravi locked up is not particularly necessary.
Moreover, the bail for Disha Ravi comes with multiple riders. First, the bail has been granted by a sessions court and could have been appealed against in higher courts by the Delhi Police. The fact that the police allowed her to be released without petitioning against her release shows that the investigators are confident of their case, and have also extracted all necessary information from Disha already, which has helped them build a significant case against many other accused as well.
Also, Disha Ravi has been granted bail on a bond of Rs. 1 lakh and has been cautioned against travelling outside the country before the probe against her is completed. In light of such facts, for liberals and their cheerleaders in Indian media to celebrate Disha’s bail as an unparalleled victory is rather infantile. But again, the inability of such people to win elections has limited their scope of celebratory events, which is why they break into a dance on issues as small as bails accorded to certain accused individuals in sensitive cases involving the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.