Citizenship Bill Remarks: Delhi HC Dismisses Plea of Manipur Student Activist Booked For Sedition
The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected Manipur student activist Veewon Thokchom's plea challenging his arrest and transit remand in the capital in a sedition case lodged against him for remarks made over the Citizenship Bill on social media.
Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner (the accused's brother), argued that the accused was not given the Memo of Arrest, that his family members were even not informed before he was picked up. There was no knowledge as to what charges he was being picked up on and where he was being taken. It was contended that Thokchom's whereabouts even now have not been disclosed.
Relying on the order of the High Court of October 1 last year, setting aside accused-activist Gautam Navalakha's remand to the Maharashtra police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence, Mr. Gonsalves submitted that the impugned remand order suffered from a non-application of the mind and was liable to be quashed.
On behalf of the respondents, it was advanced that though an offer to supply the Arrest Memo was duly made, it was declined at the end of the accused, and that Memo has now been served on the Senior Advocate representing him.
Further, the apprehension was in the presence of an officer from Delhi and the mobile number of the Investigating Officer was shared with the accused's sister. Besides, the case diary reveals that Thokchom is being brought to Manipur after procuring appropriate permission and that he shall be produced before the concerned court at the earliest.
Rebutting this submission, Mr. Gonsalves indicated a video recording showing that despite repeated requests the accused's family was not given a copy of the Memo and that the place of his detention remains a mystery.
Upon a perusal of the transit remand order, case diary and the decision cited, High Court Justice Sunil Gaur reached the finding that the remand order was not opposed by the remand advocate, and that the accused's sister had resisted from accepting the Arrest Memo and in any case, the same now had been supplied to their counsel.
Concluding that the acts committed by the accused prima facie amount to an attempt to incite hatred and disaffection towards the government established by law, the judge dismissed the petition, finding no infirmity in the impugned order.