Not inclined to set aside bail of activists: Supreme Court

Top court also says that it is troubled by lengthy bail orders with debates about the statutory provisions 
Supreme Court (File Photo| EPS)
Supreme Court (File Photo| EPS)

NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Delhi police that it is very unlikely to be convinced to set aside the bail granted to student-activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the Delhi Riots conspiracy case.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta added that it may have a different opinion on whether lengthy debates about statutory provisions should be there in a bail order. Justice Kaul asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta if the police was aggrieved with the bail granted to the activists or to the interpretation given to the UAPA by the Delhi HC.

“We are on both the issues. We will try to convince you on both the points,” Mehta said. “Very unlikely, but you can try,” Justice Kaul responded, adding that he was troubled by the lengthy bail orders with debates about the statutory provisions. “This has troubled us many times. Bail matters are heard at length in trial court, High Court and here. You can’t do it here. We only propose to hear this matter for only couple of hours.” 

“I may have some reservations whether, in a bail proceeding, the high court should have gone into all this,” Justice Kaul added. The Supreme Court adjourned the matter by four weeks at the request of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal. 

Sibal sought permission to submit a pendrive of the charge sheet, as it runs to 20,000 pages. The bench allowed Sibal’s request to file the pen drive on record.

On June 15, the High Court had granted bail to the three activists, saying in an anxiety to suppress dissent the State has blurred the line between right to protest and terrorist activity and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a “sad day for democracy”.

While hearing the matter last month, the top court had taken note of Mehta’s submission that the entire UAPA has been “turned upside down” by the high court in granting bail in the case and observed that the issue is important and can have pan-India ramifications. 

‘Narwal given provisional registration’

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday that its student Natasha Narwal, an accused in cases related to last year’s north-east Delhi violence, has been granted provisional registration for PhD programme.

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