A Metrapolitan Magistrate at Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi on Saturday remanded 15 accused persons, who were arrested by Daryaganj Police in the wake of anti-CAA protests in Delhi Gate area yesterday, to two days of judicial custody.
Their bail applications will be considered on Monday at 12 PM.
Opposing the remand of the accused persons , Senior Advocate Rebecca M John told the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate at Tis Hazari Courts that their arrests amounted to "gross abuse of process".
Also seeking release on bail of the accused, John submitted that the gravest offence mentioned in the FIR was Section 436 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with mischief by fire or explosive substance with the intent to dwelling house, place of worship. As per the allegations in the FIR, the accused persons had set a car ablaze.
John submitted that even if the accusation was assumed to be true, the offence of Section 436, which prescribes a punishment of imprisonment for life or a term up to ten years, is not applicable as there was no destruction of dwelling house or place of worship.
Which is the property, place of worship or dwelling house as per 436 ? On a plain reading of 436, it does not apply : Rebecca John#DaryaganjProtest #CAA_NRC_Protests— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) December 21, 2019
Which is the property, place of worship or dwelling house as per 436 ? On a plain reading of 436, it does not apply : Rebecca John#DaryaganjProtest #CAA_NRC_Protests
With respect to Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, John pointed out that Sections 3 and 4 were mentioned in the FIR. They deal with mischief against public property. How is this Act being invoked, when no public property has been damaged, she asked.
"You want to keep people in indefinite custody ? Scuffling their right to protest ? Between 22-25. They are daily wagers, carpenters who had perhaps gone to the mosque to pray.
There can be no common intention. They don't know each other. They probably assembled only to pray. You pick up whoever you want to pick up. Is there any statement in the FIR which can invoke this ?", she submitted.
She pointed out that all other Sections were bailable and punishable with a term of less than 7 years imprisonment. The offences related to assault on public servants are punishable for a maximum term of three years. Therefore, the arrests were contrary to the dictum of Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar case, and amounted to a "gross abuse of process of law", she said.
John said that a 15 year old boy was also among the detainees. This was disputed by the police, who said that the detainee was aged 23 years.
The public prosecutor submitted that there was destruction of property by the accused and hence they had to be kept behind bars until investigation is complete.
At this juncture, John asked what was the public property which got destroyed. The prosecutor replied that vehicles were set ablaze.
After this, the Duty Magistrate referred the bail applications to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. But the bail applications were again sent back to the Duty Magistrate, who later passed the remand order.