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[Delhi Riots] Is Opposition To CAA, Scrapping Of Article 370 Illegal In Itself? Umar Khalid In Bail Hearing, High Court Reserves Judgment

Nupur Thapliyal
9 Sep 2022 10:14 AM GMT
[Delhi Riots] Is Opposition To CAA, Scrapping Of Article 370 Illegal In Itself? Umar Khalid In Bail Hearing, High Court Reserves Judgment
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The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved order in the appeal filed by student activist Umar Khalid challenging the Trial Court's order refusing him bail in case involving UAPA charges alleging a larger conspiracy in the riots of 2020.Umar Khalid was denied bail by city's Karkardooma Court on March 24. He was arrested on 13 September, 2020 and has been under custody since.Senior...

The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved order in the appeal filed by student activist Umar Khalid challenging the Trial Court's order refusing him bail in case involving UAPA charges alleging a larger conspiracy in the riots of 2020.

Umar Khalid was denied bail by city's Karkardooma Court on March 24. He was arrested on 13 September, 2020 and has been under custody since.

Senior Advocate Trideep Pais appearing for Umar Khalid, made rejoinder submissions before a special bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar and argued that there is nothing with the prosecution to show that there was meeting of minds or some kind of physical manifestation of agreement with Umar Khalid to commit a crime.

Pais was referring to the prosecution's argument that the speeches made by Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam had a 'common factor', essence of which was to create a sense of fear in the Muslim population of the country, as they addressed common issues like triple talaq, scrapping of Article 370, Babri Masjid etc.

"Speeches of one other co accused (Sharjeel Imam) and mine have references to triple talaq bill, Article 370, participation in protests and some whatsapp messages. But at the heart of it lies opposition to CAA. That is the only component. Is the opposition to scrapping of Article 370 or triple talaq or CAA illegal in itself?" Pais argued.

He added

"To show that two persons opposed to CAA, there are various people who have opposed CAA, there are former judges who have made statements but other than showing commonality of thinking, nothing else shows meeting of minds for committing a crime or some kind of physical manifestation of agreement, as held by the Supreme Court, its not there."

Pais further argued that there is no connection of the 750 FIRs registered in connection to the riots with the FIR in question alleging a larger conspiracy. He also submitted that the statements of prosecution witnesses are without any basis, which do not lead to "forwards or backwards" in any manner.

Pais also argued that there were no recoveries made from Umar Khalid, no linking of mind shown by the prosecution and that he was not even present during any of the violent acts as alleged by the prosecution.

"The only overt act attributed to me is speech (Amravati speech). And just one line "sadko par utar aaye". That was heard by many, it was a public event. It never lead to violence. In the context of that speech he raised those issues, which many have raised," Pais said.

He added "Conspiracy is not towards raising issue of injustice, it should be towards violence in Delhi."

Adding that there was nothing illegal or inciteful about Umar Khalid's Amravati speech, Pais argued that what the Court has to see is whether the overall evaluation of the chargesheet shows any link of Umar Khalid to the actual violence committed in Delhi or to his role being criminal in any manner, leading to his conviction.

He further said that from the statements of witnesses as relief upon by the prosecution, no offence prima facie made out against Umar Khalid.

On the other hand, the prosecution had also called the speech given by Umar Khalid at Amravati in February 2020 as a 'calculated speech' for the reason that it not only referred to CAA and NRC, the focal point of protests, but also other issues specifically relating to one community.

It is also the prosecution's case that there was misinformation which was spread during riots, creation of 24x7 protest sites which were moved strategically to cause blockade of roads, followed by attack on police personnel and paramilitary forces. Prasad had also argued that there was spread of violence in non-Muslim areas, damage to public properties and use of petrol bombs and other elements.

The prosecution had also submitted that the 24x7 sit in protest sites were planned and organised and were situated in close proximity to masjids. It was also argued that Shaheen Bagh protest was not an independent movement and was not driven by women protestors.

Case Title: Umar Khalid v. State

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