Riots: Delhi court seeks clarification of HC order on bail extensions
A Delhi court on Monday has sought a clarification from the Delhi high court as to whether the directions of its full bench, extending the interim bail of an accused by 45 days to stop the spread of Covid-19 in jail, apply to the cases of riots or not.It observed that several accused have taken interim bail on humanitarian grounds and later sought extensions, citing the order passed by the high-powered committee constituted to decongest jails in view of Covid.
Additional sessions judge Vinod Yadav, whose court has been specifically assigned to hear the riot cases, said a specific trend has been noticed where a number of accused persons have been applying for interim bails on humanitarian grounds based on the order passed by the full bench of the high court.
The court noted that if it grants interim bail on humanitarian grounds or some other urgency, then the accused, invariably file applications for extension of interim bail on the grounds that the full bench of the Delhi high court has extended the interim bails en masse from time to time and presently they stand extended till October 31.
ASJ Yadav said that while the minutes of the meeting of May 18 of the high-powered committee, constituted to decongest prisons of the city, had excluded the category of under-trials whose cases are being investigated by CBI/ED/NIA/Special Cell of Delhi Police, Crime Branch, SFIO, terror-related cases, riot cases, cases under Anti-National Activities and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act etc, the full bench of the HC has directed to extend the interim bail granted to an accused at the end of the bail period.
On July 13, a full bench of the high court comprising of chief justice DN Patel, justice Siddharth Mridul and justice Talwant Singh had extended till August 31 all interim orders, including bails, in cases being heard by it and district courts so as to ensure the safety of litigants, lawyers and under-trial prisoners during the pandemic.
Later, in another order of the full bench of July 24, the court had clarified its order and said the order of extension of interim bail/parole shall be applicable to all under-trials/convicts, who have been released on interim bail or parole before or after March 16.
On Monday, ASJ Yadav said in his opinion, interim bails are granted purely on humanitarian grounds for a limited period and hence it should not come within the purview of the directions of the HC directive because such category of under-trials (riot accused) are excluded from being entitled to bail by the high-powered committee.
The court was hearing the interim bail application of 19-year old Suhaib Saifi, an accused in the northeast Delhi riots case who wanted to appear for his CBSE class 10 compartment examinations.
In his plea, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, Saifi said he was arrested on March 10 before which he was appearing for his CBSE Class 10 exams. The plea said Saifi had to write the mathematics and social science exams in custody. He passed social science but could not clear math.
The judge, on Monday, while directing that a copy of the order be sent to the Registrar for clarification, also said that all arrangements have been already made for Saifi in the jail for him to prepare for the examination. The court directed the jail superintendent to provide the necessary books to Saifi.
Saifi was arrested in connection with the murder of one Mahroof Ali and his neighbour Shamshad during the north-east Delhi riots. The FIR was registered on a complaint by Ali’s brother, who alleged that the mob shot at the two people with the intention to kill them.