Dismissing the bail application of Ibrahim, the court stated that the available video footage showing the petitioner with the sword was "quite egregious" and sufficient to keep him in custody.
The 2020 riots in Northeast Delhi were a “pre-planned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city” and events “did not take place in a spur of the moment”, the Delhi High Court said on Monday as it refused to grant bail to an accused in the case.
Justice Subramonium Prasad, while dealing with a bail application moved by one Mohd Ibrahim in the case concerning the alleged murder of Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal, observed that there was a systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras in areas near the place of the incident and “innumerable rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas, bats, etc. upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials”.
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“The riots which shook the National Capital of the country in February 2020 evidently did not take place in a spur of the moment, and the conduct of the protestors who are present in the video footage which has been placed on record by the prosecution visibly portrays that it was a calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government as well as to disrupt the normal life of the people in the city,” the court said.
“The systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras also confirm the existence of a preplanned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city,” it added.
Dismissing the bail application of Ibrahim, the court stated that the available video footage showing the petitioner with the sword was “quite egregious” and sufficient to keep him in custody. “A perusal of the material on record has revealed to the court that the petitioner has been identified on multiple CCTV footages, carrying a sword and instigating the crowd. The clinching evidence that tilts this Court towards prolonging the incarceration of the Petitioner is that the weapon which is being carried by the Petitioner is capable of causing grievous injuries and/or death, and is prima facie a dangerous weapon,” the court stated.
The judge while acknowledging the importance of personal liberty in a democratic polity, clarified that “individual liberty cannot be misused in a manner that threatens the very fabric of civilized society by attempting to destabilise it and cause hurt to other persons”.
“Even though the petitioner cannot be seen at the Scene of Crime, he was a part of the mob for the sole reason that the Petitioner had consciously traveled 1.6 km away from his neighborhood with a sword which could only be used to incite violence and inflict damage,” the court said.
Justice Prasad had on September 8 granted bail to five accused and observed that “the sole act of protesting” cannot be used as “a weapon to justify the incarceration” of those exercising this right.
The court has denied bail to three accused in the case and ordered the release eight, including one Mohd Saleem Khan who was granted bail on Monday after 17 months of incarceration.
(With PTI inputs)