Delhi Police challenges HC order granting bail to Pinjra Tod activists in SC
The Delhi Police on Wednesday filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi high court's order granting bail to Pinjra Tod activists in connection with the 2020 violence in north-east Delhi, news agency ANI reported.
The Delhi Police, through advocate BV Balram Das, approached the top court and called the HC's judgement "perverse".
“The high court has commented on facts outside the jurisdiction of the bail plea that will impact every National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigation under the UAPA. In stating that the accused being students whose dissent is sought to be stifled by the state is not borne from the evidence or charge sheet submitted to Court. In doing so, the high court has gone beyond its limited jurisdiction of dealing with the bail applications of the accused,” police officials familiar with the development said.
JNU students Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal were granted bail by the high court on Tuesday.
"We are constrained to say, that it appears, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent and in the morbid fear that matters may get out of hand, the State has blurred the line between the constitutionally guaranteed 'right to protest' and 'terrorist activity'. If such blurring gains traction, democracy would be in peril," the HC bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambani said.
The bench further noted that protests against governmental and parliamentary actions are legitimate and even though such protests are expected to be peaceful, it is "not uncommon" for them to push the limits permissible in law. It also said that the UAPA must be invoked only with regard to acts threatening the “defence of India” and not crimes covered under public order.
"The making of inflammatory speeches, organising chakka jams, and such like actions are not uncommon when there is widespread opposition to Governmental or Parliamentary actions. Even if we assume for the sake of argument, without expressing any view thereon, that in the present case inflammatory speeches, chakka jams, instigation of women protesters and other actions, to which the appellant is alleged to have been a party, crossed the line of peaceful protests permissible under our Constitutional guarantee, that however would yet not amount to commission of a 'terrorist act' or a 'conspiracy' or an 'act preparatory' to the commission of a terrorist act as understood under the UAPA," the Delhi high court noted.