The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted six-month interim bail to JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested for sedition, but imposed restrictions on him.
Justice Pratibha Rani ordered the bail after asking the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president to furnish a surety of Rs.10,000.
The judge said Kanhaiya Kumar — arrested on February 12 on charges of shouting anti-national slogans, a charge he has denied — should not take part in any “anti-national activity” actively or passively.
And as head of the JNUSU, “he will make all efforts within his power to control anti-national activities in the campus”, she added.
The bail order triggered wild celebrations in JNU campus where hundreds of students, dominantly from leftist groups, celebrated, shouting slogans hailing Kanhaiya Kumar.
“We are happy, we are happy,” a group of students said loudly.
Lawyer Vrinda Grover said she was happy with the bail order but said the surety would be provided only on Thursday when Kanhaiya Kumar is expected to walk out of Tihar Central Jail.
Special Public Prosecutor Shailendra Babbar told journalists that police would decide the next line of action after seeing the bail order.
“The order cleared one thing that we have some evidence to prove the charges framed against Kanhaiya,” he said.
“If there had been no ground in our evidence, Kanhaiya would have been given a proper bail instead of an interim bail.”
In Kanhaiya Kumar’s hometown Begusarai in Bihar, family members and supporters burst crackers and hailed the court order. They also distributed sweets to residents.
On Monday, Delhi Police had opposed the bail plea, saying if Kanhaiya Kumar was released, incidents of the kind he has been accused of would get a boost.
The police had been claiming for weeks that they had irrefutable evidence of Kanhaiya Kumar raising anti-India slogans but failed to provide this to the court.
In the meantime, at least two of the seven video clips on the basis of which sedition charges were slapped against him were found to be doctored after the Delhi government sent them for forensic tests.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s case led to a bitter war between the government and the opposition, particularly after he was beaten up on February 15 and 17 when he was taken to the Patiala House Court.
Also on February 15, many JNU students and journalists, including an IANS reporter, were thrashed by a section of lawyers.
Police have also arrested two other JNU students on charges of sedition for having raised supposedly anti-national slogans at a meeting in the JNU campus to mark the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Kanhaiya Kumar is the first JNUSU president from the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF).