The Kerala High Court directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Amani, Lakshadweep, to free island residents imprisoned by the authorities in connection with their protests against the proposed controversial legislation, subject to the execution of personal bonds.
A division bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Dr Kauser Edappagath issued the order in a writ petition brought by a Lakshadweep resident pleading for the release of the persons detained by the Executive Magistrate in connection with protests.
The petitioner claimed that, despite the fact that the demonstrators’ charges are bailable, the Executive Magistrate remanded them for no apparent reason.
The Lakshadweep Administration’s Standing Counsel rejected this claim, saying that though the Executive Magistrate was willing to release the demonstrators on bond, they chose not to do so.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Advocate R. Rohith, refuted this, claiming that neither the Executive Magistrate nor the Station House Officer made such an attempt.
Without addressing the merits of the allegations, the division bench ordered the Chief Judicial Magistrate to hear the protesters’ cases via video conferencing on the same day (June 1) and release them on executing the personal bond.
The Court said, “For us, the most important worry is the liberation of those who are detained.”
It is not necessary for the detainees to be physically present. The fourth and fifth respondents are ordered to take steps to ensure that accused persons be brought before the CJM via video conference.
The CJM can hold a meeting via video conference with the nearby NIC centre or by any other convenient mode such as Google Meet, WhatsApp video call, and so on.
The CJM has the authority to order such people’s release if they sign a self-bond or if he believes it necessary.
The case will be heard by the Court again today.