India's highest court has referred student leader Kanhaiya Kumar's bail request to a lower court. Kumar, accused of shouting anti-Indian slogans, approached the judges after a hearing in a local court turned violent.
Judges at India's Supreme Court said accepting Kumar's request would be a "dangerous proposition."
"If this court will entertain it, it will become a precedent which will be available to all the accused in the country," the judges said, adding that Kumar's case was not the only one of its type.
The Supreme Court then referred the student leader's case to the Delhi High Court. Its judges also took an assurance from Indian Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who said he would ensure adequate security to the accused and his lawyers. The number of people allowed inside the court would also be restricted, he said.
Kumar, the leader of a students' union at the left-leaning Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, was arrested last week after being accused of shouting anti-India slogans. His lawyers approached the Supreme Court after a previous session in a lower court turned violent.
"It was a life-threatening situation," Kumar's lawyer Vrinda Grover told the press, saying it wasn't safe for the defense team to go anywhere but to the Supreme Court to apply for bail.
#Iamantinational trends on Twitter
Kumar was taken into police custody after he gave a speech marking the anniversary of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted for his role in attacking the Indian parliament in 2001. Guru was hanged in 2013 under controversial circumstances and rights groups say he was not provided a fair trial.
Kumar was charged under India's sedition law, a statute that was first used by British colonialists to silence freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi.
His arrest has fuelled fears that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was targeting dissenters and restraining the right to free speech - a fundamental right protected by India's constitution.
Meanwhile, the hashtag #Iamantinational trended on Twitter in India, after prominent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote a column in "The Hindustan Times" discussing what constituted hate speech in a democracy.
"Yes I am anti-national because in a plural democracy I believe we must have a dialogue with Kashmiri separatists as we must with those in the North-East who seek autonomy," Sardesai wrote.
mg/sms (Reuters, PTI)