In Delhi Activists vs Cops, Anti-Terror Law In Supreme Court Spotlight




Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Tanha were charged under anti-terror law UAPA (File)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Friday said it would not interfere in a Delhi High Court order granting bail for student-activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, who have been accused of orchestrating the Delhi riots and charged with conspiracy under anti-terror law UAPA.

However, the two-member bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian also said the Supreme Court would examine legal aspects of the bail order.

The bench noted this case could have “pan-India ramifications” and the way UAPA, or Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, had been interpreted by the High Court would have to be examined.

This matter will be heard next month, the Supreme Court said, stressing that the High Court’s bail order could not, in the meantime, be used as precedent for other cases.

Ms Narwal, Ms Kalita and Mr Tanha were released on bail last night.

Their release had been opposed by Delhi Police, which said that the High Court, in permitting bail, had “conducted a mini-trial… (and) recorded perverse findings which are contrary to the record”.

In today’s brief hearing Delhi Police first asked the Supreme Court to “stay the order because (it) virtually records the acquittal of the accused”.

“53 died and many were police officers… 700 were injured. The court says riots were controlled so UAPA is not applicable… How can the intensity of the offence be diluted?” Delhi Police asked.

“(Delhi) High Court watered down UAPA,” Delhi Police claimed.

The Supreme Court said: “We agree. There are many questions that arise. UAPA was not challenged before the High Court.”

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