Punjab and Haryana HC Grants Bail to Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur

The high court granted bail upon a prima facie observation that there was nothing to substantiate the allegations of attempt to murder levelled against Kaur.

New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday granted bail to the 23-year-old Dalit labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur in connection with her arrest on January 12, reported LiveLaw.

The bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan granted Kaur bail in the third FIR registered against her under Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 146 (rioting), and Section 353 (assault to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code.

Her bail was granted upon a prima facie observation that there was nothing to substantiate the allegations of attempt to murder levelled against Kaur.

The high court on February 13 had taken a suo motu cognisance of the matter pertaining to Kaur’s “illegal confinement”. During Friday’s hearing, Justice Jinghan also sought to examine whether the allegations of Kaur being tortured in custody were true.

Appearing for Kaur, senior advocate R.S. Cheema submitted that she was not a flight risk. In her bail plea, Kaur also claimed that she had been targeted and falsely implicated due to her involvement in the farmers’ protest movement. Kaur also alleged that after her arrest, police officials took her to the police station “in absence of any woman police official” and that she was “beaten black and blue by the police officials”.

Also read: Nodeep Kaur’s Arrest Brings Plight of India’s Landless Dalit Labourers Starkly to Light

She had previously obtained bail in two other cases registered against her.

The 23-year-old activist and member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan had been lodged at the Karnal jail in Haryana and was facing three cases that include charges of attempt to murder and extortion.

She was arrested for allegedly gheraoing an industrial unit and demanding money from the company in Haryana’s Sonipat district on January 12, the Haryana police had previously said. At the Singhu border, Kaur had worked to mobilise workers and farmers.

Kaur’s arrest received international prominence after Meena Harris, the niece of US vice president Kamala Harris, tweeted about her. “Weird to see a photo of yourself burned by an extremist mob but imagine what they would do if we lived in India,” Harris tweeted. “I’ll tell you—23 year labor rights activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted in police custody. She’s been detained without bail for over 20 days.”

The court is also hearing a petition moved by the father of Shiv Kumar, who was arrested days after Kaur was arrested, and has alleged that Kumar had been tortured in custody. His case will be heard next on March 16.