19 Sep 2023 12:58 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court has recently denied bail to an accused in the murder case of Delhi Police’s head constable Ratan Lal during the 2020 North-East Delhi riots. Justice Saurabh Banerjee said that there are chances that once out on bail, accused Irshad Ali may influence or threaten the witnesses and is likely to tamper with the evidence which can jeopardise and derail the proceedings...
The Delhi High Court has recently denied bail to an accused in the murder case of Delhi Police’s head constable Ratan Lal during the 2020 North-East Delhi riots.
Justice Saurabh Banerjee said that there are chances that once out on bail, accused Irshad Ali may influence or threaten the witnesses and is likely to tamper with the evidence which can jeopardise and derail the proceedings thereby, “setting the clock back once again.”
“Also, this Court cannot lose sight of the fact that as many as 22 Sections of the IPC read with Sections of the PDPP Act and the Arms Act are involved in the present FIR and the same goes on to reflect the gravity of the situation involved herein,” the court said.
The court also denied bail to Ali in view of the nature and gravity of the offences and the fact that numerous witnesses are yet to be examined in the case.
FIR 60/2020 was registered at Dayalpur police station under Section 186, 353, 332, 333, 323, 109, 144, 147, 148, 149, 153A, 188, 336, 427, 307,308, 397, 412, 302, 201, 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Section 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.
Ali was arrested on December 07, 2020, and has been in judicial custody since then. Seven supplementary chargesheets have been filed by the Delhi Police in the matter, after filing of the main chargesheet.
Justice Banerjee observed that not only was Ali identified from the video footages captured by different CCTV’s installed in the area where the incident took place but also by various witnesses.
The court also noted that it was only after the circulation of the pamphlet that Ali’s arrest was possible after a gap of a few months.
“Qua the video footages captured by different CCTV’s installed in the area where the incident took place and the video recorded by one of the PW’s Vishal Choudhary, in the opinion of this Court, the genuineness of the witness or the video recorded by him is not a matter of concern at the time of granting bail as the same are matters of trial. Similarly, qua the rest of the witnesses involved, as most of them are residing in the same/ nearby area as the applicant herein, in the opinion of this Court, they would be aware of the applicant, his identity and whereabouts and thus cannot be treated as mere fly by night operators,” the court said.
Furthermore, it was also observed that Ali, as per the videos, was seen operating with “full force and vigour” instigating others at a time when “things were far from normal and the pot was indeed boiling.”
“In fact, the mere presence of the applicant at the site of the incident casts a shadow of doubt upon him and leads to a presumption that the applicant was indeed part of the protesting mob which evidently had a premeditated intent. All the aforesaid are factors enough for this Court to deny bail to the applicant,” the court observed.
Justice Banerjee also said that Ali could not be granted bail on the basis of parity claimed with another co-accused. The court said that parity is based on the role of an accused vis-à-vis the other co-accused with respect to their specific roles and the nature of the offence.
“Here is a case wherein the applicant has been captured in a video recorded by one PW namely Vishal Choudhary as well as several CCTV footages of the area where the incident took place. Thus, the fact that the applicant was indeed caught at the site of the incident on the mentioned date and time is itself an overt act which indicates his active participation in perpetrating the offences mentioned in the present FIR. Not only that, there is no denial on the part of the applicant that he was indeed present at the place of incident on the day when it took place,” the court said.
While dismissing his petition, the court clarified that Ali has a right to approach the court again for seeking grant of bail despite being denied the same on earlier occasions.
“This Court also wishes to clarify that the present order is passed under the facts and circumstances as they stand today before this Court without being influenced with the previous order(s) of rejection of bail of the applicant,” the court said.
In September 2021, a coordinate bench had granted bail to two accused namely Shahnawaz and Mohd Ayyub in the case. However, it rejected the bail pleas of Sadiq and Irshad Ali.
Advocates Tanvir A. Mir and Kartik Venu appeared for the applicant.
SPP Amit Prasad appeared for the State along with Advocates Chanya Jaitly, Ayodhya Prasad and Ninaz Baldawala.
Title: IRSHAD ALI v. STATE
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 850
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