Toolkit case: Bombay High Court grants Nikita Jacob transit bail for three weeks

Sushree Mohanty

The Bombay High Court has allowed three weeks transit bail to Mumbai-based Advocate Nikita Jacob, who is confronted with a non-bailable warrant sent by the Tis Hazari Court, in Delhi, regarding the farmer’s protest “ToolKit Case”

The plea was allowed for three weeks on a bond of Rs 25000. 

The High Court additionally allowed Jacob three-week time to move toward the concerned court in Delhi to seek relief.

The Single bench Judge Justice PD Naik allowed the bail plea subsequent to hearing Jacob’s application. 

The judge notified that since the police have conducted a thorough search through her home, seized her electronic devices and recorded her statements, it implies  that Jacob has made herself accessible for the probe. 

The Court additionally said that it will refrain from making any other remarks considering Nikita Jacob would have to move toward the Delhi Courts for bail following three weeks.

As per the Delhi police, environmental activist Disha Ravi, alongside Jacob and Beed engineer Shantanu Muluk, made the “toolkit” identified with the farmer’s protest which was then shared by Activist Greta Thunberg. 

Ravi is currently detained in police custody, while Muluk was allowed 10-day transit bail by the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court, on February 15, 2021. 

Mihir Desai, Abhiskek Yende and Sanjukta Dey, appearing on behalf of Jacob had said the Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) given by Delhi Police was on some false pretext which alleged that she was absconding.

Hiten Venegaonkar appearing for Delhi Cyber police had said “In Spite of searching and waiting for her for an entire day she did not show up. That’s why NBW was issued.”

The court in its previous hearing had reserved its verdict on the transit bail plea, subsequent to hearing submissions advanced by Jacob’s counsel and Delhi Police. 

He presented that Jacob was just moved by the Farmer’s protest and the controversial  laws related to it.

Senior Advocate Mihir Desai, further said that Jacob “is a practising lawyer for the last six-seven year, an environmental enthusiast who knows her duties.”

He contended that while running certain activities or campaigns, the groups take the help of different individuals.

“As per them, one individual out of the fifty [on the WhatsApp group] is a Khalistani. He is believed to be associated with a group called Poetic Justice Foundation]… The name poetic foundation retribution doesn’t indicate that somebody is discussing Khalistan.” he argued.

He further submitted a request to the court pleading to pass an order restraining the officials to arrest his client for a period of four weeks and allow her the time to seek the help of the appropriate court in Delhi.

Advocate Hiten Venegavkar objected to the grant of the bail application and raised a question regarding its admissibility. He said that there was no arrangement in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to concede to transit bail. 

The court dismissed his contentions on the basis that it would take into account the documented allegations against Jacob and will not delve into the merits of the case. 

Venegavkar additionally contended that Almost 400 individuals, including a police official, were harmed after the protest at the Red Fort, on the eve of Republic Day.

He further submitted that the “ToolKit” question was designed with malicious intent and had instructions formatted to take requisite actions as per the condition.

Jacob’s application filed before the Hon’ble High Court expressed that she has no religious, political or financial rationale in exploring, altering or spreading the toolkit let alone to induce violence or brutality.

She has additionally asserted in her application that a few individuals  and bots are spreading her personal information, email-ids, telephone numbers, online media handles and pictures via social media. 

The petition further asserted that Jacob discovered from a web-based account named Legal Rights Observatory that a complaint was documented with the Delhi Police with a motive to “pin the fault” on her for the Republic Day Violence in Delhi.

Jacob had raised apprehensions that regardless of her co-operation with the probe, she might be detained because of political grudge and media trial and would be unable to defend herself. 

The Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police had filed an FIR on February 4, 2021, against anonymous people over the ‘toolkit’ shared by Thunberg. The case was filed on charges of criminal conspiracy, sedition, malicious intent and other sections under Indian Penal Code.

Read also: Delhi Police seeks details from online applications to intensify investigations on the ‘Toolkit’ Case