The civil writ petition was filed by the petitioner alleging that the protesters who are detained in bailable offences are not granted bail and instead have been remanded by the Executive magistrate, who has no legitimate reason to do so. As of May 29th, 2021, 23 people were detained by the island police. The protesters detained, were protesting against the sweeping laws or drafts of the regulation, proposed by the administrator of the Lakshadweep island- Shri Praful Khoda Patel. These laws according to the administrator are for the developmental purpose of the island.
The detainees were not produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, and the decision of remanding them came from the executive magistrate and the station house officer (SHO), without any reasoning or ground for ordering the same. Hence the civil writ petition was brought before the Kerala High court and was placed before the division bench.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate R. Rohit, who put forth the facts of the case and how the peaceful protesters including the social media protestors were detained by the police. The First Information Reports were filed for the 23 detainees arrested till now, charging them under section 285, 500, 120B, 143 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act of 2005. The counsel argued that these offences are bailable offences. The detainees have not been granted bail even after five days passed after they remanded.
The 26 respondents in the instant case were represented by Advocate Manu S. The counsel also put forth the cause of the arrest of the detainees as the destruction of a structure of district collector by burning the same and instigating violence. The counsel countered the point of detainees not released even after 5 days of them being remanded and showed the court that the remand order by the executive magistrate had the validity of 7 days. He claimed that the detainees rejected the bail offer, that was granted by the SHO and executive magistrate, which was refuted by the opposite counsel. The counsel for the petitioner claimed that no offer as such was made known to them/detainees.
The Court observed that the importance must be to the liberty of detainees and there will be no compromise in allowing them to access justice or judicial measures. The court also considered the health condition of 22 detainees that are on verge of getting affected by a COVID-19 positive person among the 23 detainees. Considering the pandemic situation on the island, the court did not mandate the physical presence of the detainees and considered them presented before the Chief Judicial magistrate through video conference.
The division bench in the instant case, delivered the verdict in favour of the petitioners, ordering the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Amini to hear the case on the same day and treat it with utmost importance, and granting the bail. The court empowered the Chief judicial Magistrate to grant bail subject to certain conditions. The detainees had to be produced through video conferencing and also, the court ordered the health checkup of the detainees by the medical officer of the Kilthan island.
Click here to view the Judgement.
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