Saturday, June 22, 2024

SC grants bail to Muslim law intern assaulted by Hindu lawyers, arrested by MP Police

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to a Muslim law intern from Indore who has been under custody since January 28.

Sonu Mansoori had approached the Court alleging that she was heckled and attacked by Bajrang Dal men and Hindu right wing lawyers in Indore court premises and the police, instead of taking action against the miscreants, arrested her.

“Ld. ASG does not pose a serious objection to the bail application. Petitioner No. 2 shall be released on bail forthwith on releasing personal bond of Rs. 5000 to the satisfaction of the Court. The order shall be communicated to the Registrar of the High Court”, ordered the bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi, Live Law reported.

“Although her bail application has been rejected, I don’t want to stand in the way. Kindly enlarge her on bail” said Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Senior Lawyer Dushyant Dave, who represented the petitioners, said that the ASG has taken a “very fair” stand.

In the writ petition, Mansoori and her senior lawyer Noorjahan alleged that they are implicated in false, baseless, politically motivated and communally charged cases at the behest of the local organisations having affiliations to the current political dispensation in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

On 28 January this year, supporters of Bajrang Dal along with a group of lawyers associated with the right wing group Adhivakta Sangh, manhandled the law intern inside the courtroom. They accused the intern of secretly recording the bail proceedings of a Bajrang Dal leader who was accused of carrying out acts of vandalism in protest of the movie ‘Pathan’. On 25 January, advocate Ehtesham Hashmi (who passed away on February 9) was heckled and threatened by same Hindu right wing lawyers in the court premises for opposing the bail application of the Bajrang Dal leader.

Mansoori alleges that she was forcibly frisked and the miscreants snatched away a large sum of money and a phone that was in her possession. She also said that the local police came to the spot, but instead of taking action against the malefactors took the intern to the police station and lodged FIR against her on the basis of complaint that she was working for Muslim organisation like the PFI and the Peace Party. The FIR mentions offences punishable under Sections 419, 420 and 120B IPC, according to Live Law.

Afterwards, she was taken into custody and presented before a Judicial Magistrate on January 29, 2023. Despite the “communally hostile environment” incited by the troublemakers, no lawyer was willing to represent the intern, and she was remanded in custody until February 1, 2023.

As the local lawyers refused to defend her, four lawyers had to go from Delhi to file the bail application, she said. The four lawyers sought police protection, but were denied the same. They were even prevented from attending the court hearing. The police remand was extended till 04.02.2023, she said.

When the lawyers approached the local Bar Association to inform the members about the treatment meted out to them, the members expressed their helplessness. Later, they were threatened by Hindu right wing leader and were asked to leave Indore immediately. The lawyers went to the local police station, but were not attended to by the officers. Since the police did not take any action, the lawyers were constrained to return to Delhi. Due to lack of legal representation, the intern has now been sent to jail, says her writ petition.

In the apex court, she sought that she should be enlarged on bail; the FIR against her be quashed; alternatively, investigation be transferred to an independent agency, preferably one outside Madhya Pradesh.

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