Delhi Violence: Bombay HC grants transit pre-arrest bail to Nikita Jacob in toolkit case

According to recent reports, Bombay high court on Wednesday granted Mumbai advocate Nikita Jacob transit anticipatory bail in connection with the alleged Farmers' Protest Toolkit case in which an environmental activist Disha Ravi, 22, was arrested from Bengaluru last week. The relief is granted for 3 weeks for Rs 25000 bond.

By Harkirpal Singh, Updated : Feb 17, 2021 13:24 IST
Delhi Violence: Bombay HC grants transit pre-arrest bail to Nikita Jacob in toolkit case
Climate "Activist" Nikita Jacob

As per recent reports, Bombay high court on Wednesday granted Mumbai advocate Nikita Jacob transit anticipatory bail in connection with the farmers' protest ‘Toolkit’ case in which an environmental "activist" Disha Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru last week. The relief is granted for 3 weeks for Rs 25000 bond.

Justice P D Naik who had on Tuesday heard her plea and reserved it for orders noting that the Aurangabad bench of the HC had granted transit pre-arrest bail relief to Shantanu Muluk another "activist" against whom an NBW was issued by a Delhi court.

Her lawyers Mihir Desai, Abhishek Yende, and Sanjukta Dey had said the Non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by Delhi Police was on the 'wrong pretext'' that she was absconding. Hiten Venegaonkar special counsel 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.”

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Venegaonkar on Tuesday raised preliminary objections to granting her the relief. On Tuesday, senior counsel Mihir Desai had submitted that the toolkit only came to light after the January 26 protests when it was tweeted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

“Nikita Jacob is not named in the FIR. ..The toolkit was prepared by many. It doesn’t talk of violence nor of taking over Red Fort or anything,” Desai said on Tuesday while seeking relief. Desai submitted that HC had powers to grant her the relief sought.

Delhi cyber police which has lodged an FIR for offenses of sedition, communal disharmony, and criminal conspiracy had cited several Judgements and orders of the apex court and high courts of Patna, Calcutta, and Bombay HC too in the case of Sandeep Lahoria, to argue that the HC doesn’t have the power to grant or even to entertain a transit pre-arrest bail unless it has the power or local jurisdiction over the case.

In this case, since FIR is registered in Delhi, the Bombay HC would have no local jurisdiction to consider Jacob’s plea.
In a recent order, Bombay HC had referred to a larger bench the issue of transit pre-arrest bail when the case is registered in another jurisdiction. The reference is still pending.

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But Desai said that the transit protection was still granted in that case. She had sought orders to prevent police from arresting her or taking any other coercive steps and to afford her a chance to seek regular pre-arrest bail before the Delhi court.
The Aurangabad bench had considered several orders of the Apex Court and HC.

It is not disputed that she is a resident of Mumbai and it is also mentioned that Delhi police had recorded her statement, seized her laptop and documents. It is apparent that Jacob had made herself available said the HC. 

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