Interim Anticipatory Bail granted to Aisha Sulthana

The Kerala High Court on Thursday, June 17th 2021, granted interim anticipatory bail to the Lakshadweep filmmaker Aisha Sulthana. She had been charged with sedition for her comment criticizing the Central Government and the Island Administrator.

A Single Judge bench of Justice Ashok Menon directed Sulthana to appear before the Kavaratti police station on June 20th 2021, for interrogation under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court has further directed that on interrogation, if Sulthana is arrested, she should be released on interim bail for one week. The High Court ordered that the interim anticipatory bail would be granted on her furnishing a bond for ₹50,000 with two sureties to the satisfaction of the investigation officer.

The accusation against the filmmaker is that she had, while participating in a debate on a Malayalam news channel on June 7th 2021, claimed that the Central Government had used a biological weapon against the people of Lakshadweep. She has been charged under the offences of Section 124A (sedition) and Section 153B (assertions against national integration) IPC for her comments.

Lakshadweep Administration has contended that Sulthana’s comments have encouraged separatism and communalism among people of the Island while opposing her anticipatory bail. Standing Counsel for the Administration argued that her comments have fostered tensions in the minds of common people and that for the charge of sedition to be maintainable, eminent violence need not be incited. The Lakshadweep Administration further submitted that the police had never planned to arrest Sulthana and requested that she cooperate with the investigation.

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