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Accused in Delhi Riots to remain on Bail, High Court’s order not to be treated as precedent

Supreme Court upheld the Delhi HC court’s bail application order in Delhi Riots 2020.

Socio Legal Corp

A much awaited notice was issued by the Apex court in much talked about order of the Delhi High court grating bail to three accused Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal registered under UAPA Act, in connection with highly controversial incident of Delhi Riots 2020.

A two judge bench of Supreme court observed that a 100-page judgement of a bail application is very surprising. However , the court made it clear that the accused will remain out on bail and there will be no stay on the order.

AG, Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Delhi Police, argued that the riots took place when the US president was visiting and these people wanted to create chaos. Further, he said that Hon’ble HC’s order has turned the entire UAPA Act on its and the constitution. It creates an ambiguity in the interpretation of section 15 of the Act, which defines terrorism.

The court agreed on the point, that “the way the UAPA Act has been interpreted by the High Court needs to be examined. But, the bail order will not be stayed, however, the effect of High Court’s order will be stayed meaning the said order will not be considered as a precedent”.

The Delhi Police in its plea stated that the High Court is somehow based on the narratives created on social media rather than giving heed to the evidence and detailed chargsheet.

Previously the HC while granting bail made a strong observation stating that the difference between the right to protest and terrorist activities have been blurred by the state and the same can be perilous to democracy. Further, it observed that the right to protest under article 19 (1) (b)  cannot be termed as terrorist activity, also, the facts of the present case do not fall under the ambit of section 15, 17, and/or 18 of the UAPA Act.

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