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‘Line between right to protest and terrorist activity getting blurred’: Delhi HC grants bail to 3 in Delhi Riots case

The verdict was delivered by a bench comprising of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J. Bhambhani.

SNS Web | New Delhi |

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Asif Iqbal Tanha in a Delhi Riots case. All three of them were booked by the Delhi Police under UAPA.

The verdict was delivered by a bench comprising of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J. Bhambhani. They ruled that prima facie, no offence under sections 15, 17 or 18 of the UAPA is made-out on the basis of the material on record in the present case against the three.

The accused were students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University. The three are now subject to a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties. And the conditions also include the three surrendering their passports and not indulging in activities, which could cause hindrance to the case.

“Foisting extremely grave and serious penal provisions engrafted in sections 15, 17 and 18 of the UAPA frivolously upon people, would undermine the intent and purpose of the Parliament in enacting a law that is meant to address threats to the very existence of our Nation. Wanton use of serious penal provisions would only trivialise them.” the court said.

The court noted that it is constrained to express, that it seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the state, the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. “If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy”, said the court.

Delhi Police are investigating the “larger conspiracy” which caused the February 2020 Delhi riots, and this case pertains to that. The police stated that the accused conspired to cause disruption, which could lead to disturbance in law and order at an unprecedented scale.

Tanha is a student pursuing graduation at Jamia Millia Islamia. He was arrested in the Delhi riots case under UAPA in May 2020 and has been in continuous custody since then.

(With IANS inputs)