On Friday, the Apex Court issued notice in an appeal filed by Delhi Police against a Delhi HC order granting bail to three students in the Delhi riot conspiracy case and stated that the impugned judgement would not be treated as a precedent till the case is finally decided.
However, the Bench clarified that it was not interfering with the bail granted to activists Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal Tanha and Devangana Kalita.
The vacation Bench of Hon’ble Justice V Ramasubramanian and Hon’ble Justice Hemant Gupta opined that the High Court judgement raised the question of pan India significance relating to the interpretation of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). It was further observed that it was troubling to see that the Delhi High Court had narrowed down the scope of UAPA in bail application when the statute was not challenged.
During the admission hearing, the Court issued a notice in the case and directed that a counter affidavit be filed within four weeks.
Before the Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for Delhi Police, submitted that the High Court had turned the UAPA on its head and requested the Court to stay the impugned judgement by stating that it might affect other cases in Delhi riots matter.
He stated that lawyers were moving bail applications based on the said judgement, and the trial court would have to entertain discharge applications. He further submitted that the Delhi riots happened because the accused conspired with others when the US President was visiting India, and 53 persons died, many of which were police officers and more than seven hundred were injured.
Since the situation was handled, the High Court stated that no offence was made out.
The Court suggested that it may direct that the Delhi HC judgement will have no precedence value until the appeal is decided, but the SG urged the Court to issue a stay order. The SH then submitted that he was not objecting to the bail granted to the accused but only wants a stay on the impugned order.
On the other hand, Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal who appeared for the respondents urged the Bench not to stay the order but instead direct that it should not be treated as a precedent in the meantime.