Kerala HC grants interim anticipatory bail to Ayesha Sulthana in sedition case

Kochi: In a relief to filmmaker Ayesha Sulthana who was booked for sedition in Lakshadweep, the Kerala High Court on Thursday granted her interim anticipatory bail for a week, while reserving orders on her anticipatory bail application.

Justice Ashok Menon directed her to comply with the notice given by police to appear before the Kavaratti police for interrogation on June 20 in connection with the sedition case.

The court ordered that she be granted interim anticipatory bail if she is arrested.

The interim anticipatory bail should be granted on executing a bond for Rs 50,000 with two solvent sureties for the like sum, Justice Menon said.

The allegation is that the filmmaker, while participating in a debate telecast by a Malayalam news channel on June 7, made an assertion that the Central Government used biological weapon against the people of Lakshadweep.

The filmmaker made the allegation while taking part in a debate telecast by a Malayalam news channel on June 7.

When the anticipatory bail plea came up, her counsel submitted that Sulthana had clarified her remarks later and tendered an apology for making the statement.

Sulthana submitted that she never realised that usage of the word bio-weapon is an offence and the remark was made not intending to create hatred in the minds of the people. She said she was ready to appear before police for questioning but sought protection from arrest.

Opposing her anticipatory bail plea, Lakshadweep administration said Sulthana promoted separatism and communalism even in the minds of school children by making such a statement.

Counsel for Lakshadweep administration said the police never intended to arrest her and she should cooperate with investigation. Only thereafter, a decision regarding her arrest will be taken.

A case was registered on June 9 under section 124-A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) of IPC on the basis of a petition lodged by a political leader hailing from Kavaratti.

In a statement filed in the court on Wednesday, the administration had submitted that Sulthana made a specific baseless assertion, having serious consequences, against the Central government.

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