Delhi HC grants bail to Devangana Kalita

Court says police failed to show that the Pinjra Tod activist instigated people or gave hate speech

Published - September 01, 2020 11:31 pm IST - New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, arrested in connection with the north-east Delhi riots cases, noting that police had failed to present any material showing she instigated women of a particular community or gave hate speech.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also ordered Ms. Kalita not to “directly or indirectly influence any witness or tamper with evidence”. She has been asked not to leave the country without permission of the trial court.

Ms. Kalita has been granted bail in connection with an FIR registered on February 26, 2020 at Jafrabad police station. The case is being investigated by the Crime Branch. She is currently facing four different FIRs connected to the anti-CAA protests in Jafrabad, north-east Delhi riots and violence in Daryaganj during a protest against the new citizenship law last year.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Ms. Kalita, informed the High Court that she had already secured bail in two of the FIRs.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Delhi police, argued that Ms. Kalita had emerged as one of the main conspirators in the FIR. She, with an intention to flare communal passion and instigate a section of people to engage in rioting, did all the preparatory work such as organising and mobilising crowds and sustaining the mob at the protest site, the ASG argued.

‘Fundamental right’

“I have gone through the inner case diary produced in a sealed cover, along with the pen drive, and found that her presence is seen in peaceful agitation, which is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution,” Justice Kait said.

“There is no such evidence which establishes that the alleged offence has taken place on the act done by the petitioner [Ms. Kalita],” the High Court observed.

The Delhi police have also invoked sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a separate case related to the communal violence against Ms. Kalita.

Ms. Kalita was first arrested on May 23, along with fellow JNU student Natasha Narwal in relation with an FIR registered on February 24 over a sit-in protest at Jafrabad metro station against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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