Delhi Court dismisses bail plea of Devangana in UAPA case

New Delhi: A Delhi court has dismissed the bail plea of Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita in connection with a case related to the northeast Delhi violence registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, while rejecting the bail plea, said the accused is part of an organisation ‘Pinjra Tod’ and the organisation actively participated in anti-CAA/NRC protest and instigated riots in Delhi.

The court, in its order on Friday, observed that Devangana Kalita’s location was found at protest sites at Jafrabad and at the time of protest she was in constant touch with other co-accused.

“In the present case is of a conspiracy resulting in riots, there are various individuals, organizations and groups which are inter-linked and from the statements working in tandem. Thus, the statements or acts by the other co-conspirators in furtherance of the common object of the conspiracy will be admissible against the present accused Devangana, and the statements and evidence will have to be read in entirety since it is a case of conspiracy.

Moreover, the assertion that the accused herself physically and directly did not resort to violence as understood in common parlance would not be germane in the context of various acts committed by different individuals including accused in the commission of riots,” the order said.

Advocate Adit S Pujari, counsel for Devangana Kalita, submitted that expression of dissent is not an offence under the law and added that the accused has a history of resorting to cause-based peaceful expression of dissent.

Pujari also pointed out that even in respect of protest at Shaheen Bagh, it was observed by Supreme Court that right to protest against the legislature is not taken away.

He submitted that the prosecution is not able to make out as to what is the offence against the accused as what the accused is alleged to have said has also been narrated by many other public personalities.

It was further submitted that blockage of the road would not be covered by the UA(P)Act. It was further submitted that prosecution has not filed any video to substantiate their assertion regarding the involvement of the accused in the conspiracy, though it is the best evidence.

Special Public Prosecutor advocate Amit Prasad asserted that negative equality is not permissible in law and so accused cannot take a stand that she cannot be prosecuted.

“In any case, if the evidence suggests, action can be taken on the UA(P) Act as has been done in the present case regarding the accused,” Prasad said arguing that there is freedom to contest and oppose law but violent protest and conspiracy is not allowed.

Advocate Amit Prasad, representing Delhi Police, submitted that on February 23, 2020, as per preplanned conspiracy, the children and ladies were sent to block Jafarabad metro station to create tension and riots in the area.

“The accused is main conspirator as well as the instigator behind the riots which began in northeast Delhi area, which started with the clash at Zafrabad Metro Station. These riots have resulted in the death of over 50 innocent people and injuries of hundreds of innocent citizens and huge loss of government and public properties,” Prasad submitted.

He said that during the course of the investigation technical and manual evidence were collected and it was further revealed from the investigation that an accused Devangana Kalita played an important role in spreading recent Delhi riots by way of roadblocks, hate speeches, instigating protesters to get violent against the Government of India.

Kalita was arrested in this present case on June 6 and is currently in judicial custody.