Delhi Police approach SC against Delhi High Court’s order granting bail to student-activists in UAPA case

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The Delhi Police approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the Delhi High Court’s Tuesday order of granting bail to three student-activists who had been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On Tuesday, while granting the bail to the three young student activists, the Delhi High Court had said that “it seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy”.

Detained under the UAPA anti-terror law, JNU students- Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and Jamia Millia Islamia student, Asif Iqbal Tanha, had been arrested for allegedly playing a role in the Northeast Delhi riots conspiracy case in May last year. Booked by the Delhi Police, Kalita and Narwal are in Tihar jail, while Tanha is currently out writing his exams on a two-week interim custody bail.

Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani questioned and warned against “foisting extremely grave and serious penal provisions” of the UAPA “frivolously upon people” and noted that “wanton use of serious penal provisions would only trivialise them”.

The allegations against the three student-activists did not disclose the commission of any offence under sections 15 (terrorist act), 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of the UAPA, noted the bench, which means that the additional conditions such as limitations and restrictions on grant of bail under section 43 D (5) of UAPA do not apply.

The accused have been ordered to not leave the country, share their mobile number with the local SHO and not try to get in contact with prosecution witnesses or try to tamper evidence. Additionally, they have to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 each and furnish two sureties of the same amount.

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