SC Grants Bail to Mangaluru CAA Protesters, Lifts Stay on HC Order

In February, the petitioners were granted bail by Karnataka High Court, but in March, SC stayed this order.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 9 September, granted bail to 21 anti CAA-NPR-NRC protesters of Karnataka's Mangaluru with a condition that they will not participate in any violent activities or meetings.

The protest in December 2019 saw violence, followed by police firing which left two people dead.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian allowed the application filed by Mohammad Asik and others.

The bench also said that the observation of the Karnataka High Court that it was not possible to prima facie determine the presence of the accused persons at the spot, not be treated as a final finding of the fact by the trial court.

In February, the petitioners were granted bail by the Karnataka High Court, but in March, the apex court stayed this order. On Wednesday, the apex court lifted its stay.

Granting bail, the top court said: "We consider it appropriate to direct that the applicants be released on bail on furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs 25,000 each to the satisfaction of the trial court pending trial on the following conditions: (a) That the applicants shall report to the nearest police station on every alternative Monday; (b) That they shall ensure that they do not participate in any violent activities/meetings."

Senior advocate R Basant and advocate Haris Beeran argued the case for the petitioners, where they contended that they were involved in peaceful protests, but police resorted to firing. The petitioners argued that police have already filed a charge sheet in the matter and they have been in custody since December 2019, close to seven months.

Disposing of the matter, the top court said: "We make it clear that the observations of the High Court on question of fact and law are obviously made prima facie and shall not affect the trial. IA (intervention application) stands disposed of accordingly."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Karnataka government, submitted that the high court's observations while granting bail to the accused should be expunged.

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