Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea seeking release of an accused who, despite being granted bail for other charges, continues to be in custody for a charge under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act due to the non functioning of the NIA Special Courts.
The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar has issued notice to both the Central Government as well as the Delhi Government.
The petition claims that since the Special Courts have not been functioning due to the suspension of normal court functioning during the lockdown period and risks associated with COVID-19 pandemic, the continued custody of the accused is illegal and without authority of law.
The present criminal writ is moved by Aqil Hussain on behalf of his sister who was arrested by the local police in Jafrabad on April 09.
The Petitioner submits that initially no details as to the charges and the F.I.R. against his sister were provided, and only contact between the family and the detainee was through phone calls facilitated by the officials in whose custody she was.
When the information about the FIR was provided, the accused moved the Magistrate for bail. However, the Magistrate rejected the said application by informing her that the FIR contains charges under the UAPA.
Subsequently, she moved the Sessions Court challenging the Magistrate's order. While the Sessions Court granted her bail on the first FIR, she could not be released from prison as the second FIR against her contained charges under the UAPA.
Due to the invocation of charges under the UAPA against his sister, the Petitioner submits, it is only a Special Court constituted and empowered under the National Investigation Agency Act which can extend her custody.
Therefore, the Petitioner wants the court to issue a writ of habeas corpus against the Delhi Government and the Commissioner of Delhi Police, to produce the Petitioner's sister before this court as explain as to why she should not be released on bail, or why her continued detention is not illegal.
The matter will next be taken up on May 29.
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