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Delhi court denies anticipatory bail to engineering student in GitHub case: ‘His conduct an affront to secularism’

Vishal Sudhirkumar Jha, a second-year civil engineering student studying in Bengaluru, was arrested by the Mumbai Police earlier this month. 

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: January 22, 2022 8:59:03 pm
GithubOn the last date of hearing, the court had asked the DCP to submit a report on whether two separate FIRs can be legally investigated against Jha.

Observing that his conduct was against the “constitutional ethos of secularism”, a Delhi court has denied anticipatory bail to engineering student Vishal Sudhirkumar Jha (21), one of the accused in the GitHub app case in which photographs of over 100 Muslim women were posted without their consent alongside derogatory comments.

Jha, a second-year civil engineering student studying in Bengaluru, was arrested by the Mumbai Police earlier this month.

Stating that another accused, Neeraj Bishnoi, along with Jha developed the app, the court said, “The conduct of the accused in the instant case is against the ever-cherished constitutional ethos of secularism and fraternity ensuring the dignity of any individual and modesty of a woman. The allegations against the applicant are graver in nature as it is a direct onslaught upon the dignity and modesty of women of a particular community.”

It agreed with the prosecutor’s argument that his custody was required to unravel the obscure and undetected aspects of the crime.

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On the last date of hearing, the court had asked the DCP to submit a report on whether two separate FIRs can be legally investigated against Jha. On Saturday, submitting his report, the DCP stated that the FIR filed in Mumbai was filed before the Delhi one. Following this, the court decided to proceed with hearing the anticipatory bail plea.

Advocate Shivam Deshmukh, who moved the plea on behalf of Jha, argued that he has “no role to play in the creation of the alleged app. Even if, for the sake of argument, it is presumed that the applicant was following the ‘Bulli Bai’ app, then it in no manner constitutes an offence”.

He argued that Jha surrendered to the Cyber Crime (BKC) Western Division, Mumbai, on January 4, and was remanded in judicial custody on January 10.

Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed opposed the plea, stating that the applicant was “part of a group chat called ‘Trad Mahasabha’, and as a result of discussion in said group chat, the alleged app on GitHub was created by accused Neeraj Bishnoi”.

The prosecutor further submitted that the investigation is at an initial stage, and he needs to be interrogated, for which a team has already been sent to Mumbai.

The app was hosted on US-based software platform, GitHub, on December 31. On January 2, separate FIRs were registered in Delhi and Mumbai, based on the complaints of women who were among those targeted.

Earlier this month, a Delhi court dismissed Bishnoi’s bail plea, who is accused of creating the app, observing that his act was an “affront to the dignity of women of a particular community and communal harmony of society”.

 

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