Delhi Police has moved to the Supreme Court demanding a re-evaluation of the judgments of the Delhi High Court granting bail to Delhi riots ‘conspiracy’ accused student activists.
On June 15, Delhi High Court granted bail to student activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Asif Iqbal Tanha in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots case.
The Delhi Police cited that they are not convinced with the statements of the High Court and have decided to oppose it in the Supreme Court.
The activists were arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambani granted bail to the accused, highlighting the lack of evidence against the student activists.
The Court said, “the factual allegations made against the appellant do not prima facie disclose the commission under Section 15 (Terrorist Act),17 (Punishment for raising funds for a terrorist act and/or 18 (Punishment for conspiracy) of the UAPA.”
The High Court made observations in which the additional conditions, limitations, and restrictions on the grant of bail under Section 43 (D) UAPA do not apply.
The activists have to furnish a bond of Rs 50,000, each with two sureties. Under directives issued, the accused are advised not to leave the country, tamper evidence, and not to contact persecution.
Commenting on the previous orders passed in the case by the Special Court, the Bench asserted that organizing chakka jam, women protests, stockpiling articles prove the appellant participated in organizing a protest.
However, the charges bear less evidence of the allegations that the appellant incited violence, or committed a terrorist act.
Kalita and Narwal are pursuing an M.Phil-PhD program at Jawaharlal Nehru University, (JNU).
In Asif Iqbal Tanha’s case, the court noted the sole allegations levied against him don’t hold any ground. He is merely accused of handing a mobile sim card to another conspirator to create a WhatsApp group to update notifications about CAA protests.
The court noted, “Other than this one action that is specifically attributed to the appellant, this court is unable to discern any other act or omission attributed specifically to the appellant.”
Tanha, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia University was granted a two-week interim custody bail to attend his examination at the University.
The Delhi Police contradicted this by asserting that the allegations against the accused are liable under Section 15 of the UAPA.
To which the court reiterated the charge sheet was, “superfluous verbiage”, “hyperbole”, “grandiloquence” disclose no prima facie offense.
The Court responded to the frivolous use of the UAPA law, cautioning the police that the offenses can be charged under ordinary penal law.
The Delhi Police had filed a charge sheet against the student activists, alleging the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests organized by them were a part of a “large conspiracy” behind the North East Delhi Riots which took place in February 2020.
Kalita and Narwhal were arrested on 23 May 2020, in connection with North East Delhi CAA protests. They were granted bail on May 24, 2020. However, the Delhi Police proceeded with an application to interrogate the activists detaining them.
Tanha was arrested in May under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The police claimed he was an active member in overseeing the CAA protests and a close associate of fellow accused activists, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar who have been accused of the Delhi Riots.
The three students had spent over a year in Tihar jail amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Natasha Narwal was granted three weeks’ bail in May to attend her father’s last rites. She returned to prison after three weeks.