The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the pleas filed by the Delhi Police against the bail granted to three student activists in the 2020 North East Delhi riots case.
A bench of Justices S K Kaul and A Amanullah passed the order while hearing the pleas filed by police challenging the Delhi High Court’s June 15, 2021 verdicts granting bail to activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha in a case related to communal violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
“The special leave petition is dismissed,” the bench said.
During the hearing in the matter in July 2021, the apex court had indicated its reluctance to consider the aspect of cancellation of bail granted to the three activists, who were booked under the provisions of the stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
It had termed as troubling that the bail petitions were being argued at length debating the provisions of the law.
The top court had earlier expressed its displeasure over the high court discussing the entire anti-terror law UAPA in a bail matter and had made it clear that the judgements shall not be treated as a precedent and may not be relied upon by any of the parties in any of the proceedings.
Earlier, the police had argued that 53 people had died and over 700 were injured during the riots which took place at a time when the then US president Donald Trump and other dignitaries were in the national capital.
The police had assailed the high court verdicts, saying the interpretation by the high court will weaken the prosecution in terror cases.
The high court had granted them bail, saying in an anxiety to suppress dissent, the State has blurred the line between the right to protest and terrorist activity, and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a “sad day for democracy”.
Kalita, Narwal and Tanha are accused in four, three and two cases, respectively, related to the communal riots that broke out on February 24, 2020.