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Barpeta Sessions Court hauls Assam Police over the coals for “manufactured case” against Jignesh Mevani

Court, while granting bail to the Vadgam MLA in the assault case, noted that the police had abused process of the law

Sabrangindia 02 May 2022

Jignesh Mevani

In a huge shot in the arm for Jignesh Mevani, the Barpeta court that granted him bail last Friday in the assault case, took the Assam Police to task for abusing the process of the law, purportedly for keeping Mevani in custody for a longer duration.

Readers would recall that Mevani was originally arrested on April 20 from the Palanpur circuit house in Banaskantha district of Gujarat at about 11:30 P.M on April 20, 2022 by the Assam Police for posting two allegedly offensive tweets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was taken to Ahmedabad for the night and flown to Assam the next day where a case had been filed against him at the Kokrajhar Police Station by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member for the tweets. He was remanded to police custody for three days and granted bail by a Kokrajhar court on Monday April 25, 2022.

But shortly afterwards, he was re-arrested, this time by the Barpeta police in a case involving assaulting a woman police officer. This was the second case registered against him in the state of Assam and in this case, he was charged under IPC sections 294 (obscene acts and songs), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty) and 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman). He was denied bail by a lower court and remanded to five days police custody.

Upon appealing to a higher court, Mevani was granted bail. A close reading of the thirteen-page bail order passed by Sessions Court judge A. Chakravarty on April 29, 2022, reveals scathing remarks made by the court about the conduct of the police in booking and arresting Mevani in the assault case.

Barpeta Sessions Court’s observations

The court noted Mevani’s lawyer Senior Advocate Angshuman Bora’s submission that though the alleged incident occurred inside a moving vehicle while transporting Mevani from the Guwahati airport to Kokrajhar, the Woman Sub-Inspector (WSI) “did not inform the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kokrajhar about the alleged incident and also did not lodge any FIR with the Kokrajhar police station, though admittedly, after reaching Kokrajhar the first informant informed her superiors about the incident.”

Interestingly, the court also noted the odd response of the WSI’s superior to her complaint. “In fact, the superintendent of police, Kokrajhar, should have and ought to have directed the victim woman to lodge the FIR with the Kokrajhar police station. But for reasons best known to him he did not do so,” observed the court.

As far as the bizarre facts of the case go, the court also observed, “No sane person would ever try to outrage the modesty of a lady Police officer that too in presence of two male police officers and there is nothing in the record to hold that the accused Shri Jignesh Mevani is an insane person.”

The court also observed the discrepancy in the WSI’s submission before the magistrate and the contents of the FIR. “It seems, the victim woman was seating next to the accused person and as the vehicle was moving, the body of the accused must have touched the body of the victim and she felt the accused was pushing her. But, the victim did not depose that the accused used his hands and outraged her modesty. She also did not depose that the accused uttered obscene words at her. She has deposed that the accused abused her in his language. But, she definitely did not understand the language used by the accused. Otherwise she would have mentioned the language used by the accused,” the court recorded in its order.

The court surmised, “In view of the above testimony of the victim woman, the instant case is manufactured for the purpose of keeping the accused Jignesh Mevani in detention for a longer period, abusing the process of the court and the law.” The court concluded, “Therefore the case registered based on the instant FIR is not maintainable as the FIR is the second FIR. In view of the above, the bail petition is allowed.”

But the court did not stop there. Taking into account a series of encounter killings along with the over-reach and abuse of power in the Mevani arrest matter, the court expressed apprehension that Assam might turn into a police state, and directed that a copy of the bail order be sent to the Gauhati High Court so that it might be taken up as a Public Interest Litigation to curb police excesses.

Mevani resurfaces stronger than ever

Mevani was released and reached his home state of Gujarat on the weekend. He thanked his supporters and well-wishers, tweeting:

 

 

Then on Monday, he attended a press conference organized by the Congress party at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters and tore into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime’s cozy relationship with crony capitalists, and their lax attitude towards prosecuting crimes, particularly hate crimes.

“They did nothing when exam papers were leaked, or when a Dalit woman accused an BJP minsiter of sexual assault, or when a huge consignment of drugs was caught at the Adani owned Mundra port. When calls are given for genocide of a particular community, there are no investigations, not even when some people openly say ‘Goli maaro s***on ko’. But I post two tweets and devotees of Godse sitting in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) filed two serious cases against me.”

Displaying his characteristic devil-may-care attitude, he challenged the Prime Minister to prove his allegations of Modi being a devotee of Godse wrong. “I challenge you to raise ‘Godse murdabaad’ from the Red Fort,” Mevani fired his latest salvo at the Prime Minister.  

Mevani further alleged that the entire episode was planned meticulously in advance. “Judging by the flight time and travel distance, it appears that the Assam Police booked their flight tickets even before they filed the FIR against me,” said Mevani, adding, “They know that I am a lawyer and lawmaker, yet they kept me in the dark about what charges were filed against me, did not give me a copy of the FIR, prevented me from speaking to my lawyers or family, and violated protocol by even keeping the state assembly speaker in the dark about the arrest of a sitting MLA until after I reached Kokrajhar!”

It is noteworthy that Mevani, an independent Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Vadgam in Gujarat, not join the Congress party alongside fellow activist-turned-politician Kanhaiya Kumar in September 2021 due to a technicality, is all set to join the party formally at the end of his term as MLA. Assembly elections are due in Gujarat later this year. The Congress party has been rallying strongly behind Mevani ever since he was arrested, offering legal assistance, checking in on him to ensure he was not tortured or ill-treated in custody, and organising multiple protests and demonstrations across two states - Gujarat and Assam.

Related:

BREAKING: Jignesh Mevani gets bail in assault case in Assam

Barpeta court rejects Jignesh Mevani’s bail in assault case

BREAKING: Jignesh Mevani re-arrested after getting bail in Assam

BREAKING: Assam court grants Jignesh Mevani bail

Assam court remands Jignesh Mevani to three days police custody

Jignesh Mevani arrested over tweet against PM Modi

Barpeta Sessions Court hauls Assam Police over the coals for “manufactured case” against Jignesh Mevani

Court, while granting bail to the Vadgam MLA in the assault case, noted that the police had abused process of the law

Jignesh Mevani

In a huge shot in the arm for Jignesh Mevani, the Barpeta court that granted him bail last Friday in the assault case, took the Assam Police to task for abusing the process of the law, purportedly for keeping Mevani in custody for a longer duration.

Readers would recall that Mevani was originally arrested on April 20 from the Palanpur circuit house in Banaskantha district of Gujarat at about 11:30 P.M on April 20, 2022 by the Assam Police for posting two allegedly offensive tweets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was taken to Ahmedabad for the night and flown to Assam the next day where a case had been filed against him at the Kokrajhar Police Station by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member for the tweets. He was remanded to police custody for three days and granted bail by a Kokrajhar court on Monday April 25, 2022.

But shortly afterwards, he was re-arrested, this time by the Barpeta police in a case involving assaulting a woman police officer. This was the second case registered against him in the state of Assam and in this case, he was charged under IPC sections 294 (obscene acts and songs), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty) and 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman). He was denied bail by a lower court and remanded to five days police custody.

Upon appealing to a higher court, Mevani was granted bail. A close reading of the thirteen-page bail order passed by Sessions Court judge A. Chakravarty on April 29, 2022, reveals scathing remarks made by the court about the conduct of the police in booking and arresting Mevani in the assault case.

Barpeta Sessions Court’s observations

The court noted Mevani’s lawyer Senior Advocate Angshuman Bora’s submission that though the alleged incident occurred inside a moving vehicle while transporting Mevani from the Guwahati airport to Kokrajhar, the Woman Sub-Inspector (WSI) “did not inform the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kokrajhar about the alleged incident and also did not lodge any FIR with the Kokrajhar police station, though admittedly, after reaching Kokrajhar the first informant informed her superiors about the incident.”

Interestingly, the court also noted the odd response of the WSI’s superior to her complaint. “In fact, the superintendent of police, Kokrajhar, should have and ought to have directed the victim woman to lodge the FIR with the Kokrajhar police station. But for reasons best known to him he did not do so,” observed the court.

As far as the bizarre facts of the case go, the court also observed, “No sane person would ever try to outrage the modesty of a lady Police officer that too in presence of two male police officers and there is nothing in the record to hold that the accused Shri Jignesh Mevani is an insane person.”

The court also observed the discrepancy in the WSI’s submission before the magistrate and the contents of the FIR. “It seems, the victim woman was seating next to the accused person and as the vehicle was moving, the body of the accused must have touched the body of the victim and she felt the accused was pushing her. But, the victim did not depose that the accused used his hands and outraged her modesty. She also did not depose that the accused uttered obscene words at her. She has deposed that the accused abused her in his language. But, she definitely did not understand the language used by the accused. Otherwise she would have mentioned the language used by the accused,” the court recorded in its order.

The court surmised, “In view of the above testimony of the victim woman, the instant case is manufactured for the purpose of keeping the accused Jignesh Mevani in detention for a longer period, abusing the process of the court and the law.” The court concluded, “Therefore the case registered based on the instant FIR is not maintainable as the FIR is the second FIR. In view of the above, the bail petition is allowed.”

But the court did not stop there. Taking into account a series of encounter killings along with the over-reach and abuse of power in the Mevani arrest matter, the court expressed apprehension that Assam might turn into a police state, and directed that a copy of the bail order be sent to the Gauhati High Court so that it might be taken up as a Public Interest Litigation to curb police excesses.

Mevani resurfaces stronger than ever

Mevani was released and reached his home state of Gujarat on the weekend. He thanked his supporters and well-wishers, tweeting:

 

 

Then on Monday, he attended a press conference organized by the Congress party at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters and tore into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime’s cozy relationship with crony capitalists, and their lax attitude towards prosecuting crimes, particularly hate crimes.

“They did nothing when exam papers were leaked, or when a Dalit woman accused an BJP minsiter of sexual assault, or when a huge consignment of drugs was caught at the Adani owned Mundra port. When calls are given for genocide of a particular community, there are no investigations, not even when some people openly say ‘Goli maaro s***on ko’. But I post two tweets and devotees of Godse sitting in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) filed two serious cases against me.”

Displaying his characteristic devil-may-care attitude, he challenged the Prime Minister to prove his allegations of Modi being a devotee of Godse wrong. “I challenge you to raise ‘Godse murdabaad’ from the Red Fort,” Mevani fired his latest salvo at the Prime Minister.  

Mevani further alleged that the entire episode was planned meticulously in advance. “Judging by the flight time and travel distance, it appears that the Assam Police booked their flight tickets even before they filed the FIR against me,” said Mevani, adding, “They know that I am a lawyer and lawmaker, yet they kept me in the dark about what charges were filed against me, did not give me a copy of the FIR, prevented me from speaking to my lawyers or family, and violated protocol by even keeping the state assembly speaker in the dark about the arrest of a sitting MLA until after I reached Kokrajhar!”

It is noteworthy that Mevani, an independent Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Vadgam in Gujarat, not join the Congress party alongside fellow activist-turned-politician Kanhaiya Kumar in September 2021 due to a technicality, is all set to join the party formally at the end of his term as MLA. Assembly elections are due in Gujarat later this year. The Congress party has been rallying strongly behind Mevani ever since he was arrested, offering legal assistance, checking in on him to ensure he was not tortured or ill-treated in custody, and organising multiple protests and demonstrations across two states - Gujarat and Assam.

Related:

BREAKING: Jignesh Mevani gets bail in assault case in Assam

Barpeta court rejects Jignesh Mevani’s bail in assault case

BREAKING: Jignesh Mevani re-arrested after getting bail in Assam

BREAKING: Assam court grants Jignesh Mevani bail

Assam court remands Jignesh Mevani to three days police custody

Jignesh Mevani arrested over tweet against PM Modi

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