“Raising slogans or protesting against the government will not constitute an unlawful activity or terrorist activity,” observed the Sessions Court here while granting bail to a youth arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, (UAPA).
Swapnesh Babu, 37, a native of Manjummal here, was arrested for affixing a poster with some slogans of protest against the government on the wall of a building at Marine Drive on February 21, 2013.
Babu, an artist who works with a cultural organisation ‘Njattuvela,’ was charged under section 39(1) of UAPA and section 153(b)of IPC.
“Protesting against the government by words or slogans will not constitute a terrorist activity or any unlawful activity.
“We are citizens of a country where we enjoy freedom of speech and expression, of course, subject to limitations and constraints under the Constitution of India,” Ernakulam Sessions Judge P Ubaid stated in his order on March 8.
The court had found nothing prima facie in the case for a punishable offence under UAPA and granted bail to Babu. Swapnesh Babu was earlier arrested for some posters raising protest against the Kochi Muziris Biennale in December 2012, but was released without any charges being framed.
The Bombay High Court had also issued a similar order in a UAPA case on January 31, stating that sympathy for Maoist philosophy is not sufficient ground to conclude that the accused are active members of any terrorist organisation, while granting bail to four youths arrested from Pune allegedly on account of their Naxal links.