The return of Swiss national Jonathan Baud, who is facing a case in Kerala on charges of attending a meeting to commemorate a suspected Maoist leader, would be further delayed. Baud is already overstaying in the country after his tourist visa had expired on September 16.
On Tuesday, the high court, which is hearing his petition to quash the FIR registered for violation of visa conditions, posted the case to November 6 for further argument.
After watching the video of his address in the meeting and going through the Malayalam translation of it, the court had observed that there was nothing objectionable in the speech that demands framing of the offence under section 14 (b) of the foreigners act. Judge P Ubaid had asked the prosecution to explain which condition of the visa regulations has the foreign national had violated.
On Tuesday, prosecution reiterated the argument that Baud had been on a tourist visa, and attending a political meeting was an offence under the law. It said Baud could not be considered as an innocent participant considering the fact that he had gone to the meeting held in a relatively unknown place in Kerala. That he tried to keep away from camera in the function shows that he was aware of the implications of attending the meeting, argued the prosecution.
Baud was arrested on July 28 after he attended the meeting held to commemorate Maoist leader Sinoj in his village Triprayar in Thrissur. After staying in judicial custody for 12 days, he was released on bail. Since then, he has been waiting to get the FIR quashed.
Baud’s counsel P Raveendranath said the police could not still pinpoint the offence against him. The police had earlier told the court that Baud had made a 15-minute speech at the meeting. After watching the video, it was clear that his address confined to mere self-introduction. There was nothing incriminating in the case diary also which was presented in the court on Tuesday. This is going to be a case of miscarriage of justice, said Raveendranath.
Director-General of Prosecutions T Asif Ali told The Indian Express that the government would have been very lenient towards Baud if Swiss Embassy would have approached the state for quashing the prosecution proceedings.
“Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had given an assurance to that effect to the Embassy officials. Instead, the Swiss youth is fighting his case alone. In fact, the Embassy has backed out from one of the conditions of the bail that it would give an undertaking in the court to the effect that Baud would be produced before the investigating officer whenever required. The Embassy has not so far furnished the undertaking. Baud, who is already overstaying, has failed to meet that bail condition, ’’ said Asif Ali.