Booked for Sedition at LGBTQ rally, two former TISS students get protection from arrest

They were apprehended for allegedly shouting slogans in support of JNU student Sharjeel Imam at an LGBTQ rally at Azad Maidan last year


The Mumbai Sessions Court has confirmed anticipatory bail to Ameer Ali and Ambadi B, two former students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) who were among the 51 students booked on charges of Sedition for shouting slogans in support of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam at an LGBTQ rally at Azad Maidan on February 1, 2020.

On September 8, Additional Sessions Judge PP Rajvaidya said, “Anticipatory Bail Application No.276 of 2020 is allowed. Interim order dt.12.02.2020 is hereby made absolute with all the conditions directed therein.”

The order may be read here:

On February 12, 2020, the same Bench had granted interim relief to them from arrest. They were booked under FIR no. 28/2020 under sections 124A (sedition), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code registered at the Azad Maidan Police Station.

On February 6, police officials from the Azad Maidan police station visited the TISS campus and served Ameer and Ambadi a notice to report to the police station under section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code for recording their statement. The section empowers the police officer to require the attendance of witnesses.

Their lawyer Vijay Hiremath had argued before the court that they did not participate in any sloganeering in support of Imam, and that they hail from Kerala and do not understand Hindi very well. He contended that they were part of a peaceful gathering of the queer community assembled at Azad Maidan on February 1, 2020 and only waived a blue colour flag which is a symbol of the Dalit community.

ASJ Rajvaidya accepted these arguments and granted anticipatory bail to Ameer and Ambadi on furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 20,000 and were directed to attend the police station whenever summoned by the Police. They were also instructed to submit their mobile numbers, address proof and not leave the country without prior permission of the court.

The order may be read here: 

Another TISS student, Urvashi Chudawala (a transgender rights activist who prefers to go by the name Kris), who was booked under the same FIR had also moved the sessions court in February last year for anticipatory bail. However, on February 5, 2020, ASJ PP Rajvaidya had dismissed their plea by ruling that prima facie, a case of Sedition was made out against them. Kris was alleged to have raised a slogan, “Sharjeel tere sapno ko hum manzil tak pahauchange” (Sharjeel, we will make your dream come true), thereby allegedly instigating people to support secession of the state of Assam from India.

The court said, “Even though, this court is not dealing with the matter or the crime allegedly committed by said Sharjeel, ultimately the impact of the slogan uttered by the applicant in support of said Sharjeel, in my opinion, prima facie, attracts the ingredients of section 124A of the Indian Penal Code to the effect that the applicant has attempted to bring into hatred or disaffection towards the Government of India especially because, it does not appear that the applicant was not aware of the contents of the speeches by Sharjeel.”

The order may be read here: 

Eventually, the Bombay High Court’s Justice SK Shinde granted Kris anticipatory bail on February 11, 2020. Imam is currently lodged in Tihar Jail for his alleged role in the North East Delhi violence of 2020.


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