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Umar Khalid Withdraws Bail Plea Before Supreme Court in Delhi Riots Case

Khalid was arrested on 13 Sept 2020 under UAPA for allegedly being a key conspirator in the 2020 north Delhi riots.

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Activist Umar Khalid on Wednesday, 14 February, withdrew his bail application before the Supreme Court in connection with the 2020 Delhi riots case. His bail plea was adjourned 14 times and has not had a single significant hearing in the apex court in 2023.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Khalid, said that his client had decided to withdraw the bail plea due to "change in circumstances". Sibal added that they will seek bail afresh in a trial court.

A Bench comprising Justices Bela Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal was hearing Khalid's Special Leave Petition against the Delhi High Court October 2022 decision that had rejected his bail. The petition was dismissed after Khalid withdrew it on Wednesday.

Khalid, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was arrested on 13 September 2020 for allegedly being a key conspirator in the February 2020 north Delhi riots – that killed 50 people and injured twice as many – under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967.

However, Sibal said that he will continue to argue a separate writ petition filed by Khalid challenging the constitutionality of the provisions of UAPA, LiveLaw reported.

Here's a brief timeline of Khalid's case:

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Timeline:

13 September 2020 – Arrested for alleged involvement in the northeast Delhi riots, which rocked the city in February 2020. Khalid has been in jail since three years and nearly four months.

Khalid was charged under sections 13, 16, 17 and 18 of UAPA, sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act,1959, and sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.

January 2021 – The Delhi Police submitted its chargesheet in the case against Khalid to a Delhi court, which admitted it.

April 2021: Khalid got bail by Sessions Court in the case related to vandalism in north-east Delhi’s Khajuri Khas but continued to be incarcerated for his alleged role in conspiring the 2020 Delhi riots.

July 2021: Khalid files for bail in Sessions Court.

August 2021-March 2022: Khalid’s appeal for bail was heard by the Sessions Court over eight months. While Khalid’s counsel Trideep Pais argued that the allegations of the Delhi Police are baseless, the prosecution claimed that messages from the ‘Delhi Protest Support Group (DPSG)’ WhatsApp group showed Khalid’s intention to bring the government “to its knees.”

24 March 2022: Khalid was denied bail by the Sessions Court. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat observed that Khalid was involved in a “premeditated conspiracy” surrounding the 2020 Delhi riots.

22 April 2022: Khalid appealed for bail before Delhi High Court.

29 April 2022: The Delhi High Court decided to hear the bail applications of Khalid and Sharjeel Imam together.

20 May 2022: A special bench of the Delhi High Court ordered that the bail plea be heard regularly from 23 May

31 May to 3 July: Summer Vacation

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4 July: Khalid’s bail plea hearing continued as Delhi High Court reopened after summer break.

18 October 2022: Delhi High Court rejected Khalid’s bail plea. Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnesh Bhatnagar held that chargesheet makes prima facie case against Khalid for involvement in terrorist activities and criminal conspiracy under UAPA.

18 November 2022: Khalid moved Delhi’s Karkardooma Court to seek an interim bail for two weeks to attend his sister’s wedding.

12 December 2022: Khalid got a week-long bail – from 23 to 30 December – but with strict gag orders, which prevented him from speaking to the media or giving interviews. He was only allowed to speak to his family members, relatives and friends.

6 April 2023: Khalid filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court, challenging the Delhi High Court’s October 2022 order rejecting his bail.

18 May 2023: A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court sought a response from the Delhi government on Khalid’s plea within six weeks. The case was then adjourned until after the top court’s summer break.

From July to December 2023, Khalid’s bail plea was adjourned multiple times due to the prosecution and defence counsels seeking more time, re-assigning of judges, unavailability of counsels and tagging Khalid’s with other matters challenging the constitutionality of UAPA.

10, 24, 31 January 2024: The matter was adjourned again due to unavailability of counsel.

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Topics:   Supreme Court   Umar Khalid   UAPA 

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