Delhi HC grants bail to UAPA accused in Delhi riots case

The Delhi High Court Friday granted bail to an accused facing charges under the stringent anti-terror law- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Delhi riots case.

The Delhi Police’s own status report does not disclose the commission of the offences under the UAPA except the bald statement of witnesses, the court observed.

The Court was ruling on a bail plea filed by accused Faizan Khan who had allegedly in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy with co-accused Asif Iqbal Tanha, one of the ‘main conspirators’, deliberately issued a SIM card which was then used to manage the various protest sites and to mobilise the Muslim people of area at these sites, which had further led to a Chakka Jaam and riots at various protest sites in Delhi.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

Granting bail to the accused, Justice Suresh Kait observed that it is the duty of the investigating agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “actual knowledge” that the said SIM card would be used for organizing the protests. It was imperative for the investigation agency to demonstrate that the petitioner had “active knowledge” about the utilization of the said SIM card. It is not alleged that the petitioner was party to any such conspiracy to organize protests.

The judge added the transaction relating to the SIM card had allegedly taken place on December 16, 2019, whereas the violence erupted in northeast Delhi around February 23, 25 this year. There is no proximate nexus, the Judge said, between the aforesaid alleged incidents nor is it alleged that the said SIM card was provided, on the pretext or with the intention/objective, to be utilized for organizing protests, etc.

The Court noted that it was also not the case of the prosecution that he was part of any chat-group or of any group which conspired to commit the offences as alleged in the present case.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that the investigating agency had misapplied and wrongly invoked the UAPA against the present petitioner.

Khurshid added there is neither any allegation that the petitioner indulged in any terrorist act nor is there any material that even remotely shows that the petitioner funded any terror activity. The invocation of the UAPA, 1967 vis-à-vis the petitioner is a gross abuse by the investigating agency to deprive the petitioner of his personal liberty, argued Khurshid.

Read the Order