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SC Issues Notice on Delhi Police Appeal Against Bail to Student Activists

Devangana Kalita

Issuing notice on the appeal filed by the Delhi Police against the bail granted to three student activists, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the Delhi riots conspiracy case, the Supreme Court on Friday said that the impeached judgment shall not be be treated as a precedent until the Delhi Police’s appeal is decided.

However, the Apex Court stated that it was not interfering with the bail granted to the three activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha at this stage.
A Vacation Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian issued notice on the appeal filed by the Delhi Police but refused to stay the bail order.
“Let the Counter Affidavit be filed within 4 weeks. List in the week commencing 19 July, on a non-miscellaneous day. In the meanwhile, this judgment will not be treated as a precedent by any parties before any Courts. It is clarified that the relief granted to the Respondents will not be affected at this stage,” the Court ordered.

In Friday’s hearing, Solicitor General (SG), Tushar Mehta urged the Top Court to stay the impugned Judgment.
“Lawyers are moving for bail relying on this. Trial court will have to entertain a discharge application and replace it with this judgment,” SG Mehta told the Bench.
He pointed out that the alleged incident happened because the three accused conspired when the President of the United States was visiting. 53 persons died in the process of which many were police officers.
Furthermore, 700 people were injured. But since the situation was controlled, the High Court made wide ranging observations and said that offence is not made out.
“That means, If I put a bomb somewhere and the squad defuses the bomb, then it reduces the offence,” Mehta remarked.

The Bench suggested that it may direct that the judgment will not have precedent value until the appeal is decided.
However, Sibal insisted that the matter may be heard as early as possible if need be but, stay may not be granted.

Background –
The Delhi High Court in its judgments dated June 15, 2021 found that offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) were prima facie not made out against student leaders Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal, and Devangana Kalita in the Delhi riots conspiracy case.
On June 17, the three were finally released from Tihar Jail. The development came after a Delhi Court issued orders for their immediate release. This decision was taken after observing that Delhi Police’s argument saying that more time was needed to verify the addresses of the accused and their sureties, cannot be a plausible reason for keeping them imprisoned.
The High Court delivered three separate orders allowing the bail applications of Tanha, Narwal and Kalita.

The Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against them alleging that the protests organized by them against the Citizenship Amendment Act from December 2019 were part of a “larger conspiracy” behind the North East Delhi communal riots which took place in the last week of February 2020.
However, the High Court Bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani, after a preliminary analysis of the chargesheet, observed that the allegations did not prima facie constitute the alleged UAPA offences relating to terrorist activities (Sections 15,17 and 18).

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Written by Headline8 Desk

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