Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > HC grants bail to 3 activists in Delhi riots case, slams Centre for frivolous invocation of UAPA

HC grants bail to 3 activists in Delhi riots case, slams Centre for frivolous invocation of UAPA

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to three activists who were arrested over a year ago in connection with the Delhi riots over protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The court rejected Delhi Police’s stand that the ongoing protests were “not a typical protest but an aggravated protest which was intended to disrupt the life of the community in Delhi”.

The court, while granting bail to the activists, remarked that the foundation of the country cannot be shaken by a protest organised by a tribe of college students.

“We are of the view that the foundations of our nation stand on surer footing than to be likely to be shaken by a protest, however vicious, organised by a tribe of college students or other persons, operating as a coordination committee from the confines of a University situate in the heart of Delhi,” the court said.

Members of the women’s rights group Pinjra Tod, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha were arrested in May 2020 and charged for conspiracy under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They were denied bail by the trial court against which they moved the high court.

A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani overturned the trial court’s order and granted bail. The accused activists have been asked to surrender their passports and not to indulge in any activity that could hamper the investigations.

What the Delhi HC said

The court said, “It seems that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between 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.”

The bench also said, “In our opinion, the intent and purport of the Parliament in enacting the UAPA, and more specifically in amending it in 2004 and 2008 to bring terrorist activity within its scope, was, and could only have had been, to deal with matters of profound impact on the ‘Defence of India’, nothing more and nothing less.. It was neither the intent nor purport of enacting UAPA that other offences of the usual and ordinary kind, however grave, egregious or heinous in their nature and extent, should also be covered by UAPA.”

The court also cautioned against the frivolous invocation of provisions under UAPA. “Wanton use of the serious penal provisions would only trivialise them”, the court said.

 

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