Anti-CAA protests: Safoora Zargar’s bail plea dismissed by Delhi court

Her counsel submitted that right to peaceful protest against CAA was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) and invocation of UAPA against Zargar was unjustified

Safoora Zargar (Photo Courtesy: social media)
Safoora Zargar (Photo Courtesy: social media)

NH Web Desk

A Delhi Court has dismissed Jamia student, Safoora Zargar's bail plea in relation to an FIR registered for the north-east Delhi riots. Bail was rejected by Judge Dharmender Rana, Additional Sessions Court, Patiala House Court, has reported.

Safoora Zargar, who is now 21 weeks pregnant, was arrested by the Delhi Police on the allegation that she delivered inflammatory speeches on February 23 at Chand Bagh, which led to violence and rioting in north-east Delhi.

This arrest was made soon after Zargar was granted bail in another FIR registered at Jafarabad Police Station in connection with the riots.

Seeking bail under Section 439 CrPC, the counsel for Zargar contended that the Delhi Police was creating a false narrative to implicate innocent students who did not approve of the Government's policies, specifically the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The counsel stated that Zargar visited Chand Bagh on February 23 for a short period of time but there were no incidents of violence on that day.

Further, her speech was not inflammatory and did not invite anybody to resort to violence, it was asserted.

The counsel argued that the right to peaceful protest against CAA was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) and invocation of UAPA against Zargar was unjustified.

Bail was also sought on the ground that Zargar was pregnant and vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

The Prosecution opposed the grant of bail on the ground that there was enough evidence to show that Zargar was involved in Delhi riots.

The Delhi Police has asserted that Delhi riots were the result of a larger conspiracy to disrupt the normal functioning of the city and to overawe the government machinery by resorting to violence and force.

To justify the invocation of UAPA against Zargar, the Police placed on record certain WhatsApp chats and statements of witnesses. It was submitted that at this stage, the court could not ignore the incriminating evidence against Zargar and release her on bail.

After considering the submissions made by the parties and the material before it, the court observed that any activity which has the tendency to create disorder or disturbance of an extent which brings the entire city to its knees and the entire government machinery to a halt, as in the present case, would be treated as an unlawful assembly under UAPA.

The court opined that there was prima facie evidence to show that there was a conspiracy to at least blockade the roads.

As far as the contention with respect to the absence of any direct evidence attributing violence to Zargar was concerned, the court stated, “..if there is a prima facie evidence of conspiracy, the evidence of acts and statements made by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the common object is admissible against all..even if no direct evidence of violence is attributable to the applicant/accused, she cannot shy away from her liability under the provisions of the Act. When you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire”.

Thus, concluding that it could not be said that there was no prima facie case against Zargar, the court stated that the statutory embargo under Section 43D (5) UAPA was attracted in the present case.

The bail application was accordingly dismissed.

However, keeping in mind the medical condition of Zargar, the court requested the Jail Superintendent to provide adequate medical aid and assistance to her.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines