Kochi, Nov 10 (PTI) The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to Malayalam dubbing artiste Bhagyalakshmi and two women activists accused of assaulting a YouTuber who had allegedly uploaded a video abusive of women.
The court said in the event of their arrest, the applicants shall be released on bail on execution of bond for 50,000 each with two solvent sureties, for like amount each, to the satisfaction of the arresting officer.
The court directed that they shall appear before the investigating officer as and when called for and co-operate with the investigation and they shall not tamper with evidence, intimidate or influence witnesses.
The police in Thiruvananthapuram had booked the three under various sections of IPC on the basis of a complaint filed by YouTuber Vijayan P Nair accusing them of thrashing him and threatening him with dire consequences after trespassing into his room in a lodge on September 26.
The dubbing artiste and activists moved the high court seeking anticipatory bail after a sessions court in Thiruvananthapuram rejected it on October 9.
Allowing the anticipatory bail pleas filed by Bhagyalakshmi and activists Diya Sana and Sreelakshmi Arakkal, the court observed that the applicants are ladies without any criminal antecedents.
Noting that the first applicant (Bhagyalakshmi) claims to be a celebrity of repute and the other applicants claim to be involved in social work, the high court, however, said taking law into their hands would set them as bad example for people to follow.
'Though I do not approve of vigilantism shown by the applicants in taking law into their hands, I also do not feel it necessary to incarcerate them just for the purpose of giving them a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.
'The applicants are ladies without any criminal antecedents.
The fact that the applicants had, soon after the incident appeared before the police and surrendered the articles which they had allegedly robbed is an indication to the fact that they're willing to co-operate with the investigation and are not likely to flee from justice,' Justice Ashok Menon said in the order.
The court made it clear that none of what has been observed by it shall not influence the trial court.
'An independent finding based on the materials that may be produced during trial shall be arrived at.
The above finding of this court is intended solely for the purpose of disposing the application for anticipatory bail and the ultimate finding should be untrammelled by what is observed above,' the court said.
Earlier, the court had granted interim protection for the three from arrest.
In their plea, they submitted that Nair had published an abusive video in a YouTube channel levelling allegations against Bhagyalakshmi and some others.
The video has been circulated throughout the internet and has been watched by millions of people, they said.
Bhagyalakshmi's friends, her children and relatives have also seen the video and that affected their family relationship.
Rejecting the charges against them, the women claimed they were invited by Nair and hence there was no criminal trespass.
The women had allegedly attacked Nair for his derogatory video against women and uploading it online. PTI COR TGB BN WELCOME BN WELCOME