Delhi HC has granted bail to five persons involved in the anti-CAA violence holding that the ‘sole act of protesting’ can’t be used to justify their imprisonment. The judgment was pronounced by Justice Subramonium Prasad who granted bail to Furkan, Arif, Shadab Ahmad, Suvaleen, and Tabassum.
Delhi police had taken the five accused into custody for their involvement in the anti-CAA violence in which Head Constable Ratan Lal sustained and ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
A report by The Indian Express in the matter notes:
“While Furkan and Arif were in custody for 17 months, Shadab and Suvaleen spent 16 months behind bars. Tabassum, a mother of two children, was arrested 11 months ago. It was alleged that they were among the protesters who had assembled near the Chand Bagh area and 25 Futa Road on February 24, 2020.
Granting them bail, Justice Prasad said: “The right to protest and express dissent is a right which occupies a fundamental stature in a democratic polity, and therefore, the sole act of protesting should not be employed as a weapon to justify the incarceration of those who are exercising this right.”
“The applicability of Section 149 IPC, specifically read with Section 302, cannot be done on the basis of vague evidence and general allegations. When there is a crowd involved, at the juncture of grant or denial of bail, the Court must hesitate before arriving at the conclusion that every member of the unlawful assembly inhabits a common intention to accomplish the unlawful common object,” he said.
There cannot be an umbrella assumption of guilt on behalf of every accused by the court and the decision taken, he said, must be based on careful consideration of facts and circumstances of the matter.”
The judge also disagreed with the prosecution’s contention that if there appears to be reasonable ground that the accused has committed an offence which is punishable with death or life imprisonment, then there is a bar imposed by law on granting bail. In this regard the judge noted “There is no blanket bar as such which is imposed on the Court on granting of bail in such cases and that the Court can exercise discretion in releasing the accused, as long as reasons are recorded which clearly disclose how the discretion has been exercised”.
The judge also opined that keeping an accused in jail during pendency of trial was against the principles enshrined in the constitution. “It is the Constitutional duty of the Court to ensure that there is no arbitrary deprivation of personal liberty in the face of excess of State power,” he said, adding that courts must exercise their jurisdiction to uphold the ‘tenets of personal liberty’.
There could hardly be another state in the world which goes soft in this manner on people charged with brutally killing a police officer. Constable Ratan Lal lost his life from grave injuries inflicted by stone pelting mobs during anti-CAA protests in Delhi’s Maujpur/Gokalpuri area. Several other police personnel were injured in that incident as well. Autopsy revealed that Ratan Lal had been injured with a bullet wound as well.
Originally from village Sadinsar in Sikar district of Rajasthan, he left behind a wife, Poonam & 3 young children – two daughters, Siddhi (12) and Kanak (10), and a son Ram (7). His wife had lamented as to why unarmed police was sent to face the violent mob of anti-CAA ‘protestors’. Now, upon hearing that people accused of murdering her husband have been given bail in name of ‘personal liberty and right to dissent’, what would be going through her mind?
This judgement comes close on the heels of a Delhi sessions court discharging Tahir Hussain’s brother and two other accused in the anti-Hindu Delhi pogrom where several people including Intelligence Bureau personnel Ankit Sharma were murdered in cold blood by Islamists in the name of anti-CAA protests.
(Featured Image Source: DNA India)
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