SC rejects Delhi government’s plea against bail to Pinjra Tod activist

Court rejects contention that Kalita will influence witnesses

October 29, 2020 01:36 am | Updated 01:36 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the Delhi government against the grant of bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita in a case connected to the riots that rocked north-east Delhi in February.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan dismissed the government’s plea that Ms. Kalita was an “influential person”. The court said bail could not be denied merely because a person had influence. The court questioned the apprehensions raised by the government that Ms. Kalita would tamper with the witnesses.

The High Court had granted her bail saying the witnesses in the case were mostly police officers. The court, in its bail order on September 1, concluded that the police had shown no evidence to back their claim that Ms. Kalita instigated communal violence or hate speech. It said she was engaged in a peaceful protest, which was her fundamental right.

Ms. Kalita and her colleague, Natasha Narwal, were arrested in May and booked for rioting, unlawful assembly and attempt to murder. They were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly being part of a “premeditated conspiracy.”

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