On 4th June 2020, Jamia student, Safoora Zargar’s bail plea in relation to an FIR registered for the North East Delhi riots was rejected by the Delhi High Court.
Judge Dharmender Rana, Additional Sessions Court, Patiala House Court rejected the bail.
Delhi Police arrested Safoora Zargar, now 21 weeks pregnant lady, in FIR 59/2020 on the allegation that she delivered inflammatory speeches on February 23 at Chand Bagh, which led to violence and rioting in North East Delhi.
Zargar was granted bail but soon arrested in another FIR registered at Jafarabad Police Station in connection with the delhi riots.
The counsel for Zargar seeked bail under Section 439 CrPC and contended that the Delhi Police created a false narrative to implicate innocent students who did not approve of the Government’s policies, specifically the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Zargar visited Chand Bagh on February 23 for a short period of time but there were no incidents of violence on that day, the Counsel stated.
Further, it was asserted that her speech was not inflammatory and did not invite anybody to resort to violence.
Inter alia, the right to peaceful protest against CAA was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) and invocation of UAPA against Zargar was unjustified, the Counsel argued.
The bail was sorted accordingly as Zargar being pregnant and vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
The grant of bail was opposed by the prosecution on the ground that there were enough evidence to show that Zargar was involved in Delhi riots.
Delhi riots were the result of a larger conspiracy to disrupt the normal functioning of the city and to overawe the government machinery by resorting to violence and force, asserted the Delhi Police.
The Police placed on record certain WhatsApp chats and statements of witnesses under Section 161 and 164 of CrPC to justify the invocation of UAPA .
The court at this stage could not ignore the incriminating evidence against Zargar and release her on bail, mentioned the submissions.
The Court after considering the submissions made by the parties and the material before it, observed that any activity which had the tendency to create disorder or disturbance of an extent which brings the entire city to its knees and the entire government machinery to a halt, as in the present case, would be treated as an unlawful assembly under Section 2(o) UAPA.
Prima facie evidence showed that there was a conspiracy to at least blockade the roads, the court opined.
The Court, to the contention with respect to the absence of any direct evidence attributing violence to Zargar,stated,
“..if there is a prima facie evidence of conspiracy, the evidence of acts and statements made by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the common object is admissible against all..even if no direct evidence of violence is attributable to the applicant/accused, she cannot shy away from her liability under the provisions of the Act. When you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire….”
The Court also stated that the statutory embargo under Section 43D (5) UAPA was attracted in the present case and thus, concluded that there was a prima facie case against Zargar.
Accordingly, bail application was dismissed.
The Court requested the Jail Superintendent to provide adequate medical aid and assistance after keeping Zarkar’s medical condition in mind.
Zargar was represented by Advocates Trideep Pais, Ritesh Dhar Dubey and Sanya Kumar.
APP Irfan Ahmed represented Delhi Police.
Read the order here: