Nodeep Kaur released from Haryana jail

The labour rights activist was arrested by Sonipat Police on January 12.

Labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur was on Friday released from a Haryana jail after the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted her bail in a case in which faces charges of attempt to murder, rioting among others, in an incident at Haryana’s Kundli of Sonipat district. 

The 24-year-old activist, who was in the Karnal jail, was released after the bail order. Her counsel Arshdeep Singh Cheema told The Hindu that she was released late in the evening. She was arrested by the Sonipat Police on January 12.

Earlier in the day, Justice Avneesh Jhingan observed in his order that while dealing with the bail application, it would not be appropriate for the court to go in detailed discussion with regard to merits of the allegations. 

“The contentions are being considered only for purpose of deciding grant of bail. As per the case of the petitioner, she was heading a peaceful protest for getting wages of the workers. On the other hand, the case of the State is that it was a case of vandalism and hooliganism.”

 Petitioner’s contention 

As per the pleadings, the petitioner, along with some workers, was making a peaceful protest outside a factory premises in Kundli to raise grievances regarding non-payment of wages to some of the labourers. Whereas the case of the State was that the protest turned violent, police officials were attacked and in the process, injuries were inflicted to police personnel. There was also an attempt to snatch weapons from the police.

“… It would be appropriate to say that the right to peaceful protest is circumscribed by a thin line. The crossing of line may change the colour of protest. It would be subject matter of trial as to whether the line for peaceful protest was crossed in the alleged incident or not. Considering the material placed on record before this court, the issue with regard to invoking of Section 307, 332, 353 and 379-B IPC would be a debatable issue and to be considered during the trial,” observed the judge.

Mr. Jhingan said the petitioner was in custody since January 12. Albeit the matter was under investigation but that itself would not be a sufficient ground to deny personal liberty to the petitioner, he added.

“At this stage, no comment is being made on the video-recording produced in the pen drive before this court. However, it will suffice that the petitioner shall maintain a restrain while being on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions…Petitioner is ordered to be released on bail subject to her furnishing surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate-Duty Magistrate concerned,” said the order.

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