Attraction towards communism doesn't make one a terrorist: Bombay HC
Mumbai: Mere attraction towards communist ideology cannot be sufficient ground to declare individuals as members of a terrorist group, the Bombay High Court has held while granting bail to four alleged members of the banned 'Communist Party of India (Maoists)'.
Justice Abhay Thipsay last week granted bail on a surety of Rs 30,000 each to Dhawala Dhengale, Siddharth Bhosale, Mayuri Bhagat and Anuradha Sonule.
The four were arrested in April 2011 by the Anti Terrorism Squad for their alleged involvement with CPI(Maoist), declared as a terrorist organisation by the central government.
Advocate Mihir Desai, while seeking bail, argued that prima facie no case was made out against the accused and the prosecution's theory was unreliable as it was based only on recovery of some literature on Communist philosophy and CDs on the same from the accused persons.
"There is no allegation that the applicants had conspired to commit any particular act or acts of violence. They seem to be interested in raising social issues.
"There is nothing wrong in raising these social issues and emphasising that a change in the social order is required," Justice Thipsay observed.
He added that the same views are expressed by several national and eminent leaders and the expression of these views cannot brand a person as member of a terrorist organisation like the CPI (Maoist).
"It does appear that the applicants are attracted towards the communist philosophy but that by itself would not make them terrorists or criminals."
"Speaking about corruption, social inequality, exploitation of the poor and desiring a better society should come in existence is not banned in our country. Claiming that these wrongs exist in our society cannot be banned and made punishable," the court said.
Terming as "commendable," the applicants' interest in these issues and their attempts to create a social awareness, the court said, "That the state should highlight these activities of the applicants to convince the court about them being members of Communist Party of India (Maoists), is rather surprising."
The seven accused, arrested from Pune, were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.