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Delhi Riots | 'Vague Evidence, General Allegations': HC Grants Bail to 5 Accused

The HC said it is 'egregious' to allow an accused to remain languishing behind bars pending trial.

Updated
Law
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>A charred car in Bhagirathi Vihar in Gokalpuri, a day after the violence in north-east Delhi. Image used for representation purpose.</p></div>
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The Delhi High Court on Friday, 3 September, granted bail to five accused in connection with the murder of a Head Constable and injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi Riots of 2020.

Justice Subramonium Prasad had reserved the order on 16 August.

Passing the bail order in favour of Mohd Arif, Shadab Ahmad, Furkan, Suvaleen and Tabassum on Friday the court pointed out that the petitioners were arrested over a year ago and observed:

"Bail jurisprudence attempts to bridge the gap between the personal liberty of an accused and ensuring social security remains intact. It is the intricate balance between the securing the personal liberty of an individual and ensuring that this liberty does not lead to an eventual disturbance of public order."

Further the Court stated:

“It is egregious and against the principles enshrined in our Constitution to allow an accused to remain languishing behind bars during the pendency of the trial.”
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'Vague Evidence and General Allegations'

The Court also said that the applicability of Section 149 IPC (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence commit­ted in prosecution of common object), specifically read with Section 302 ( punishment for murder), cannot be carried out on the basis of vague evidence and general allegations.

“When there is a crowd involved, at the juncture of grant or denial of bail, the court must hesitate before arriving at the conclusion that every member of the unlawful assembly inhabits a common intention to accomplish the unlawful common object.”
Delhi High Court

The Court also noted that there cannot be an “umbrella assumption of guilt” by the Court against every accused.

Background

While the court had reserved orders on 11 bail applications, it cleared five of them on Friday.

Head constable Ratan Lal was reportedly attacked by a mob at the Chand Bagh protest site on Wazirabad Road on the afternoon of 24 February 2020, following which he was rushed to GTB Hospital but was announced dead on arrival. A DCP had suffered head injuries.

The FIR was registered on the statement of a constable, who was reportedly on duty, along with other personnel in the area.

The constable claimed that after repeated warning, the police used "mild force and gas shells to disperse the crowd" at Chand Bagh and those who had gathered started beating up people as well as police personnel.

The constable also claimed that he himself had sustained injuries on his right elbow and hand.

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