UAPA Accused Ishrat Jahan Gets Bail in Delhi Riots Conspiracy Case – Here's Why

Appearing for Jahan, Advocate Pradeep Teotia had claimed that she had been falsely implicated in the case.

4 min read

Video Producers: Shohini Bose, Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

A Delhi court on Monday, 14 March, granted bail to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, in connection with the Delhi Riots Larger Conspiracy Case, registered under FIR 59 of 2020.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had reserved orders in Jahan's bail plea in February this year.

She was arrested on 26 February 2020.

The charges registered against Jahan include Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 among other offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Appearing for Jahan, advocate Pradeep Teotia had claimed that she had been falsely implicated in the matter, and that there is “no single iota of evidence regarding her involvement in the conspiracy".



In the 38-page order by judge Rawat, he set out in detail not only the arguments raised by Jahan's lawyers, but also the allegations of the Delhi Police against her as laid out in the chargesheet.

When it comes to UAPA cases, the courts cannot grant bail to a person accused of terror offences if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the case against them is prima facie true, under Section 43D(5) of the UAPA.

When making this determination, the courts cannot look at the evidence or lack thereof, but must go instead by the allegations made by the police.

In this case, judge Rawat found that going purely by the police's allegations in the chargesheet,

  • Ishrat Jahan was not alleged to have been the one who created the idea of causing chakka-jams in Delhi.

  • She is not a member of any organisation or even of the specific WhatsApp groups which are alleged to have played a role in the conspiracy to cause riots, ie Muslim Students of JNU (MSJ), Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), Pinjra Tod, Students of Jamia (SOJ), Alumni Association of Jamia Milia (AAJMI) or DPSG. She never attended any meetings called by these organisations.

  • While the protest site at Khureji which she was involved in was one of the protest sites against CAA/NRC, it is not located in North East Delhi where the riots took place in February 2020 and is not contiguous to North East Delhi.

  • Her connection to accused like Khalid Saifi, Natasha Narwal, Safoora Zargar was only through mobile calls or presence at the same time at the protest site in Khureji. She was not physically present in North East Delhi at the time of the riots, and did not attend the alleged conspiratorial meetings on 23 January 2020, 16/17 February 2020, 22 February 2020 or 23 February 2020.

  • She is not alleged to have given directions to anyone in the conspiracy or to have had a major role.

  • According to the statements of protected witnesses, she was "giving provocative speeches and saying that the government was against Muslims." The statements were claimed to be obnoxious utterances and contributing towards the environment that lead to the violence, but there was no specific allegation of inciting violence.

  • She received Rs 4 lakhs from one Mahadev Vijay Kaste on the directions of his employer Sameer Abdul Sai, and Rs 1.41,000 which was then used for the protest site at Khureji and for purchasing weapons in an incident at Khureji covered in a separate FIR. They money was allegedly given to Khalid Saifi, one of the other main accused.


Noting that he was not making any observations about the trial or discharging Ishrat Jahan, judge Rawat held that

"The entire conspiracy as spelt out in the charge-sheet, as far as it ascribes the role of accused Ishrat Jahan, who is a woman, for the limited purpose of bail application on a prima facie considerations, persuades this Court to allow the present application for bail despite the embargoes contained in Cr.P.C and UAPA."

This means that while he is not saying Jahan is innocent, the allegations made by the police against her (not the other co-accused) do not on a prima facie level make out a case of terror offences under the UAPA.

This is a very limited finding, restricted to her, and does not even mean that he is saying she did not prima facie commit IPC offences, even non-terror offences under UAPA.


Eighteen people have been named accused in this case, but prior to Jahan, only five others had received bail. Jahan is also the first accused in this case to have been granted bail by a sessions court.

The other five – Faizan Khan, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita – had to go up to the Delhi High Court before they were granted any relief.

Meanwhile, orders in the bail pleas moved by co-accused Umar Khalid has been deferred to 21 March, and by Saleem Malik and Sharjeel Imam to 22 March.

Appearing for Jahan, Advocate Pradeep Teotia had claimed that she had been falsely implicated in the case.

Jahan, along with co-accused Gulfisha Fatima and Khalid Saifi, have allegedly suffered custodial violence, according to World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

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