Former Congress councillor and human rights defender Ishrat Jahan’s bail application came up for hearing before a Delhi district today, on August 26. She has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the Northeast Delhi violence case.

Pradeep Teotia, appearing for Jahan, told the court that the Delhi Police is unnecessarily increasing her period of incarceration and deriving “sadistic pleasure” out of this. Additional Public Prosecutor, Amit Prasad (appearing for Delhi Police) argued that Jahan’s bail application was not maintainable because it was filed under section 439 (Special powers of High Court or Court of Session regarding bail) of the Criminal Procedure Code whereas, the special court can only hear cases filed under section 437, which deals with the provisions of when bail matters may be taken up in case of a non-bailable offence.

To this, Pradeep Teotia told Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat that the court had heard bail applications under section 439 and that the prosecution knew this beforehand and still did not point it out earlier. He said, “Rule of practice and Rule of law are different. Prosecution wants to derive sadistic pleasure that I will continue to be in custody? I can file a new application. The Court has already heard the application on merits.”

The court also raised the issue that the arguments will remain the same irrespective of applications. But Amit Prasad contended that the arguments will change. He argued,  “By invoking a wrong provision of law, they (Ishrat Jahan) can’t seek remedy. If the application itself is not maintainable, what are we arguing about then?”

To this, Teotia reiterated that the State should have highlighted this issue earlier and not wait for six months to pass by. He argued, “This is torture on me also. After taking so much of Court’s time! Then, one should also not seek bail orally. I don’t have any words. Someone has been in jail, court can’t see if prosecution and defense are fighting like cat and mouse.”

He added that this is a trivial issue and that this will not change his prayer, facts of the case or his arguments for bail. The court asked if the procedure is different because this is a bail application under the stringent anti-terror law. Judge Rawat asked, “Is there not a requirement to file an application?” Teotia expressed his displeasure over filing a second application for which another date will have to be sought, delaying the process of seeking bail.

He further said that the case should be adjudicated fairly and hiding the issue of maintainability for 6 months and then raising it, is a “waste of judicial time”. Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad argued that he had judicial precedents in support of his arguments, and the court asked him to submit the judgments in this regard. The matter has been posted on September 1 for further hearing.

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