NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Friday rejected the bail plea of former municipal councillor from the Congress Ishrat Jahan, accused of attempt to murder in a case related to violence and rioting in northeast Delhi over the amended citizenship law, saying she does not deserve bail at the present stage of the investigation, "despite being a woman".
"In the present case, the charges are serious in nature. When the protectors of law are targeted in the manner as reflected in FIR and that too, in the gaze of general public, such actions lower the public confidence in the ability of police officers to do their duty...the accused (Jahan), despite being a woman, does not deserve bail at this stage," Additional Sessions Judge Naveen Gupta said in the order.
Jahan was arrested on February 26 for offences under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault on public servant), 332 (voluntarily causes hurt to public servant), 307 (attempt to murder), 109 (abetment), and 34 (common intention) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Arms Act.
The court said though the public have been protesting against the CAA for over a month, the right to peaceful protests is subject to certain exceptions provided under the Indian Constitution.
"The court is of the view that though the public might have been engaged in protesting against CAA for 49 days, as claimed by counsel for the accused. There is no doubt that a peaceful protest is the essential right in a vibrant democracy as of ours, but this right is subject to certain exceptions provided under the Constitution of India," it said.
During the hearing, the additional public prosecutor, appearing for the police, told the court that Jahan was arrested from the spot of the incident.
"Jahan has been specifically named in the FIR. She has claimed herself to be an advocate, hence, she must not have instigated the public against the police officials who were discharging their public duty. Moreover, she has criminal antecedent as she was previously involved in obstructing and assault on public servant in 2014," the counsel claimed.
He further informed the court that seven people have been arrested in the case and one countrymade pistol and one live cartridge recovered from the one of the accused.
"Three empty cartridge cases, three sticks and two iron rods, along with 10-12 pieces of bricks and stones, have also been recovered from the spot. Two empty cartridge cases, which have been shot by the police officials in the air to disperse the crowd, have also been recovered. Statements of two public witnesses have also been recorded, which have also corroborated the version of FIR on material particulars," he alleged.
Advocate Zakir Raza, appearing for Jahan, claimed that there was a peaceful protest against the CAA for the last 49 days and no complaint of any criminal activity had been moved against the protesters and that she has been arrested out of "political vendetta" due to her affiliations with the Congress.
He further told the court that she was arrested from her house.
"Jahan is an advocate by profession and ex-councillor associated with the Congress party, and that is why, she was falsely implicated in the present case out of political vendetta," Raza said.
He further alleged that police officers who were part of the flag march did not record the entire alleged incident on video and themselves damaged the CCTV cameras installed in the area.
The police has named Jahan, Sabu Ansari and Khalid as accused in the FIR lodged in the case.
The FIR said that in view of protests against the CAA going on for several days at Jagat Puri, section 144 (prohibition of assembly of five or more persons) of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been imposed in the area of Khureji.
On February 26, a flag march was carried out by the police, it said.
When the police reached Khureji Khas, they heard a shot and found that a large crowd had gathered there, the FIR stated.
It further said that the police asked the crowd, which included Jahan, to disperse and vacate the road.
The crowd was instigated to sit down there and the accused persons did not allow the crowd to remove themselves, the FIR said.
According to the FIR, Jahan instigated the crowd by saying that they would not remove themselves no matter what and that they wanted freedom (azaadi).
Khalid asked the crowd to pelt stones at the police and someone from the crowd fired at a police officer but he narrowly escaped, it claimed.
The FIR said when the crowd did not disperse, the personnel used tear gas shells and fired in the air.
Some persons from the crowd started manhandling the police staff and due to stone pelting, constable Vinod received injuries, it said.
Jahan was protesting at Delhi's Khureji Khas against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act from January 13.