A court of Judges SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta, who was hearing appeals by the police against the Delhi High Court rulings granting bail to three students, asked whether the police were aggrieved by the granting of bail or bail. interpretation and observations of the verdicts.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who appeared before the police, said they are aggrieved on both issues and would try to convince the higher court on these issues.
“Very unlikely, but you can try,” the court told Mehta, indicating its reservation to enter the aspect of the cancellation of the bail of the three defendants who were booked under the strict anti-terrorism law – Law of (Prevention) of Illegal Activities (UAPA).
The superior court noted that bail-related matters are discussed extensively in court despite time being limited today and proposes to hear these appeals for no more than a couple of hours.
“This is something that worries us many times. Each bond matter is discussed extensively before the trial courts, the higher courts and this court, “the court said, adding:” The provisions of the Act should not be debated in a bond matter. ”
The court, which released the matter for hearing after four weeks, noted that matters relating to bail are not in the nature of a final judicial proceeding and a prima facie decision must be made whether or not to grant bail.
The higher court was hearing appeals filed by Delhi Police challenging the June 15 high court verdict granting bail to JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and University student Jamia Millia Islamia Asif Iqbal Tanha in last year’s communal violence case in northeast Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
At first, lead defender Kapil Sibal, who appeared on behalf of the students, said they were looking for some time as the charge sheet is 20,000 pages long.
“We don’t have the means to print 20,000 pages. Let us archive it on a pendrive, ”he said.
The court, which allowed Sibal’s request to put the flash drive in the registry, asked Mehta whether the police complaint relates to the posting of bail by the higher court or the interpretation of the law given in the matter.
“Both. It will have to be argued,” said the attorney general.
The court then asked if the police want these students, who are out on bail, to be in custody.
“We will argue,” Mehta said.
The court said that prima facie on bail, all of these things may not need to be examined, and ultimately these are superior court observations in the context of bail only.
“Your Lordship’s observations will also be of great help,” Mehta said.
The bench observed that one is the issue of bail and the other is that many observations have been made in a bail process.
Mehta said this is not a “political issue”.
Given this, Judge Kaul observed “don’t make me lose my patience. Am I prevented from asking questions? You’re making us say all this. You won’t let me speak. I am trying to segregate the case ”
The bank told Mehta: “Please don’t presume that we are against you. We just want to segregate the issue ”.
Additional Attorney General Aman Lekhi, who also appeared for police, said the issue is related to the applicability of section 15 of the Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
On June 18, the high court had expressed its displeasure that the high court discussed the entire UAPA anti-terrorism law in a bond matter and made it clear that the rulings are not to be treated as a precedent and cannot be invoked by any of the parties in any of the proceedings.
The superior court, which agreed to hear the appeals filed by the police and issued notices to these three students, refused to suspend the superior court’s verdicts.
The supreme court had clarified in its order of June 18 that the release of these students on bail was not being interfered with at this stage.
While hearing the matter last month, the superior court had taken note of Mehta’s claim that the superior court had “turned the entire UAPA upside down” by granting bail in the case and noted that the issue is significant and you can have problems all over India. ramifications.
Mehta had said that 53 people were killed and more than 700 injured during the riots that took place at a time when the then US president and other dignitaries were here.
The higher court had said that, although the definition of ‘terrorist act’ in section 15 of the UAPA is broad and somewhat vague, it must participate in the essential character of terrorism and the phrase ‘terrorist act’ cannot be allowed to apply in a “cavalier way” to criminal acts that fall directly under the Indian Penal Code.
Delhi police have attacked the verdict, saying the higher court’s interpretation would weaken the prosecution in terrorism cases.
On June 15, the high court granted bail to the three student activists saying that, eager to clamp down on dissent, the state has blurred the line between the right to protest and terrorist activity and that if such a mentality gains traction It would be a “sad day for democracy.”
These three student activists were released from jail on June 17.
Kalita, Narwal and Tanha are charged in four, three and two cases, respectively, related to communal riots that broke out on February 24 last year.