Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid’s hopes for an effective bail hearing were dashed when his case was listed and then dropped from the Supreme Court cause list on August 17.
The case had come up last on August 9 before a Bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and P.K. Mishra. However, Justice Mishra recused himself, and the case was adjourned to August 17 to be heard by another combination of judges.
On Thursday, however, the bail plea was listed again before Justices Bopanna and Mishra.
Long legal saga
The bail petition has been listed since May this year. On May 18, a Bench of Justices Bopanna and Hima Kohli had issued notice and posted the case after six weeks.
On July 12, a Bench of Justices Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh listed the case on July 24. The case duly came up on July 24 before a Bench of Justices Bopanna and Bela M. Trivedi. However, Mr. Khalid’s lawyer sought an adjournment.
When it came up next on August 9, Justice Mishra recused himself.
The former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader is accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, in a case linked to the February 2020 Delhi riots case. Mr. Khalid is accused of being part of a “larger conspiracy” behind the communal violence.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for Mr. Khalid, has been repeatedly pointing out in court that his client has been in jail for over two years, arguing that a hearing on his plea for personal liberty should not be delayed any longer.
The Delhi High Court had refused to grant bail to Mr. Khalid last October, saying that he was in constant touch with the other co-accused, and that the allegations against him were prima facie true.
The High Court had said that the acts of the accused prima facie qualified as “terrorist act” under the UAPA. It had said that the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act had “metamorphosed into violent riots”, which “prima facie seemed to be orchestrated at the conspiratorial meetings”, adding that the statements of the witnesses indicate Mr. Khalid’s “active involvement” in the protests.