Ishrat Jahan

By upur Thapliyal / Live Law

The Delhi Police has moved the High Court challenging the bail granted to Former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan in FIR 59/2020 which alleges a larger conspiracy in the Delhi Riots that happened in 2020. She was arrested on February 26, 2020.

The matter is listed for hearing before a single judge bench comprising of Justice Anu Malhotra tomorrow.

Ishrat was granted bail by city’s Karkardooma Court on March 14. The police has challenged the said order seeking cancellation of Ishrat’s bail.

The plea states that the impugned order is not only in the teeth of the settled of law, but suffers from infirmities which go to the root of the matter and is perverse in the eyes of the law.

The Police has also claimed in the petition that while granting bail to Ishrat, the Trial Court had failed to comprehend the correct import of the judgment rendered by Supreme Court in the case of NIA v. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali.

“The Ld. Trial Court lost sight to the fact that several people had lost their lives in these riots and disturbed the even tempo of life and be prejudicial to the public order apart from undermining national security, their effect was not confined to a few individuals but impacted a wide spectrum of public. The length, magnitude and intensity made the problem different from one affecting merely law and order,” the plea adds.

The petition also states that the Trial Court lost sight of the fact that Jahan, being “closely connected” with the other conspirators, played a very active role in the entire conspiracy of organising the protest which resulted in riots and destruction of property.

“Acts which threatens the unity and integrity of India and causes friction in communal harmony and creates terror in any section of the people by making them feel surrounded resulting in violence is also a Terrorist Act, but granted regular bail to accused Ishrat Jahan by ignoring the embargo contained in Section 43(D)(5) of the UAPA, by using recourse to the proviso to Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 being a women accused,” the plea states further.

It has also been alleged that the Trial Court ignored the statements of protected witnesses recorded under Section 164 Cr. P.C wheren they had clearly described and attributed specific and definite role to Ishrat Jahan not only in conspiracy but also in terror financing.

About Trial Court Order

While granting bail to Ishrat Jahan, the Trial Court had observed that even as per the chargesheet, there was no allegation that she was physically present at the North East Delhi regions during the February 2020 riots, nor that she was a member of any organisation or any WhatsApp group which was part of the alleged conspiracy.

The Court had added that as per the chargesheet, Jahan was involved in protest site at Khureji which was one of the protest sites against CAA and NRC however, it was not located in North-East Delhi where the riots took place. According to the Court, the same did not appear to be “contiguous to North-East Delhi.”

While the Court noted that Jahan’s connectivity was shown with co accused Amanullah, Khalid Saifi, Tasleem, Natasha and Safoora Zargar through mobile or presence at the same time at Khureji, the Court was of the view that the same ranged from high to very low.

According to the prosecution’s case, there was a premeditated conspiracy to commit North East Delhi riots between the accused persons.

It was the prosecution’s case that a total of 53 people died during the riots, 142 people were Injured in first phase of riots and other 608 were injured in the second phase.

The prosecution had argued that the 2020 sit-in protests were carefully planned, picking strategic protest sites closer to 25 mosques. It was therefore submitted that the protest sites were places with religious significance but were purposely given Secular names to give legitimate appearance to the allegedly communal protests.

FIR 59/2020 registered against Jahan contains stringent charges including Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act,1984 and other offences under Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Others who were charge-sheeted in FIR 59/2020 include Former AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Shifa-Ur-Rehman, activist Khalid Saifi, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Salim Malik and Athar Khan.

A supplementary charge-sheet was thereafter filed in the case against former JNU student leader Umar Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam.

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