Delhi violence: HC seeks police reply on plea challenging time granted to complete probe in UAPA case

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August 25, 2020 8:08 PM

Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Delhi Police on the petition by Khalid, who is a member of campaign group – United Against Hate – and is lodged in judicial custody in the case.

Delhi violenceThe Delhi High Court listed the matter for further hearing on September 1.

The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought response of Delhi Police on a plea by an accused, booked under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA, challenging extension of time to complete investigation in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi in February.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Delhi Police on the petition by Khalid, who is a member of campaign group – United Against Hate – and is lodged in judicial custody in the case.

United Against Hate was a citizens’ campaign launched in 2017 to protest against series of lynching in the country and was allegedly involved in the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in which financial support was provided by the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The accused has sought to set aside the trial court’s August 13 order by which police was granted extension till September 17 to complete investigation against 10 people booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case.

Advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, appearing for Delhi Police, said since the issue involves largely questions of law, they will file a short note of submissions along with case laws.

The high court also allowed advocate Bhavook Chauhaan, appearing for Khalid, to file a short note on the submissions.
The high court listed the matter for further hearing on September 1.

The plea sought to set aside the trial court order and he be released on bail till pendency of the case.

“Grave prejudice has been caused to the petitioner (Khalid) as without supply of the copy of the said application” and a copy of the prosecutor’s report, the petitioner was unaware of the grounds invoked by the prosecution seeking extension of his detention, thereby depriving him of a fair opportunity to take legitimate and legal grounds available to him, to oppose the said application.

“The State sought to extend the detention of the petitioner and hence it was only fair and reasonable that copies of the application and report should have be given to the petitioner,” the plea said.

The trial court has granted further time to the police to complete its pending probe against Jamia Coordination Committee member Meeran Haider, Jamia students Asif Iqbal Tanha and Gulfisha Khatoon, Jamia Alumni Association President Shifa-Ur-Rehman, JNU students and Pinjra Tod members Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, suspended AAP councilor Tahir Hussain, former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan and United Against Hate member Khalid and Shadab Ahmed.

Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) was founded in 2015 to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women students. The trial court had earlier extended time till August 14 for completion of investigation against Khalid and Jahan, till August 24 in case of Rehman and till August 29 for Haider, Hussain and Khatoon.

In its August 13 order, the trial court had said that investigation was still going on regarding the conspiracy which was “deep rooted, large scale and multi-layered” and all the different aspects pertaining to different accused persons including inter-linkages were being investigated as regard to the conspiracy.

The prosecutor had said before the trial court that the investigation could not be completed for Khalid and Jahan by August 14 in view of the inter-linkages and overall conspiracy.

The police had sought extension of time till September 17 for concluding investigation against the 10 accused, under section 43D (2) (b) of the anti-terror law.

Section 43-D (2) of UAPA provides that if it is not possible to complete the investigation within the 90-day period, then upon the report of the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the probe and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the 90 days period, after satisfaction, the court can extend the period of probe to 180 days.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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