A court in Delhi on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of Mumbai-based lawyer Nikita Jacob’s anticipatory bail petition in the farmers’ protest document case till March 9, Live Law reported.
The court granted time to the Delhi Police to file their response to Jacob’s petition. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said Jacob should be given a copy of the response in advance, according to Bar and Bench.
Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed said: “Bail application of co-accused Shantanu [Muluk] is listed for 9th [March]. This may be listed on that date and same submissions may be taken.”
Ahmed also told the court that Jacob and Muluk gave “contradictory” replies during their interrogation in the case.
Jacob requested the court to hold a standalone hearing of her petition. “I don’t want all these matters [listed] on the same date,” her lawyer Rebecca John submitted on her behalf. “It will create an overlap.”
However, the judge said he did not understand Jacob’s apprehensions and adjourned her bail hearing.
Jacob had filed her anticipatory bail petition on Monday. She had been granted protection from arrest for three weeks by the Bombay High Court on February 17. Muluk was also granted protection from arrest by a court in Delhi till March 9.
Non-bailable warrants were issued against Jacob and Muluk after 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested in Bengaluru on February 13 for allegedly editing and circulating a document in support of the farmers’ protest.
The “toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material – was tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in support of India’s protesting farmers on February 4. The authorities say the document is anti-government.
The Delhi Police claimed that Muluk, Jacob and Ravi, had attended a Zoom call along with an organisation in Canada, the Poetic Justice Foundation, to chalk out the modalities related to the farmer protests against the new agricultural laws. The organisation is an advocacy group that often raises questions connected with human rights. However, the police claim it is promoting Khalistanism or Sikh separatism, a charge that the group denies.
On February 23, a court in Delhi granted bail to Ravi after observing that the evidence against her was scanty and sketchy. It added that there were no palpable reasons to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old woman who has absolutely no criminal antecedents.