Delhi riots: SC to hear Umar Khalid’s bail plea on November 1

The Court adjourned the hearing citing ‘paucity of time’ and posted the matter to be heard on November 1

October 12, 2023 05:04 pm | Updated 05:04 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Former JNU student Umar Khalid speaks during a demonstration against CAA/NRC at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in March 2020.

Former JNU student Umar Khalid speaks during a demonstration against CAA/NRC at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in March 2020. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed November 1 for hearing a plea for bail filed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid, who is accused of conspiracy in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and linked to the February 2020 Delhi riots case.

A Bench headed by Justice Bela M. Trivedi cited “paucity of time” for adjourning the case while posting it after the Dussehra holidays.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said Mr. Khalid has been an undertrial in jail for nearly three years. The trial court has not framed charges in the case yet. The accused in the case were students and PhD scholars.

“What is happening here?” Mr. Sibal asked.

He said he would need just 20 minutes to show the court that there was no case against Mr. Khalid. Mr. Sibal said the accusations of conspiracy against his client were vague.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju countered that the accused were the reason why the framing of charges have been delayed all these years. The accusations were serious.

Mr. Khalid is accused of being part of a “larger conspiracy” behind the communal violence.

The Delhi High Court had in October last year refused to grant bail to Mr. Khalid, saying he was in constant touch with other co-accused and allegations against him were prima facie true.

The High Court had said the acts of the accused prima facie qualified as “terrorist act” under the UAPA. The High Court had said the anti-CAA protests “metamorphosed into violent riots”, which “prima facie seemed to be orchestrated at the conspiratorial meetings”, and the statements of the witnesses indicate Mr. Khalid’s “active involvement” in the protests.

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