Delhi riots: Umar Khalid’s bail plea adjourned for 12th time since 2023, likely to be heard tomorrow

The bench will also consider a set of writ petitions that challenge the Constitutional validity of certain provisions of the UAPA, along with Khalid's bail petition

In Oct 2022, Delhi High Court upheld a trial court order denying bail to Umar Khalid, who then went to the SC (photo:  @gauravsabnis/ X)
In Oct 2022, Delhi High Court upheld a trial court order denying bail to Umar Khalid, who then went to the SC (photo: @gauravsabnis/ X)
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Ashlin Mathew

The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned for the third time this year the hearing of the bail plea of former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid incarcerated in the Delhi riots conspiracy case.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Prasanna M Varale posted the matter for Thursday, but senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Khalid said he had to appear before a Constitution Bench with Chief Justice of India on Thursday (tomorrow).

“The Constitution Bench will go on. If bail can be taken up another day, the rest of the items in the batch can start,” said Sibal. The bench then responded, “We shall see.”

Along with Khalid’s bail plea, there are related petitions challenging the validity of certain provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967.

The matter could not be taken up today because there were several other matters ahead of Khalid’s case. Now, Khalid’s bail plea has been adjourned 12 times since 2023.

He was arrested on 13 September 2020 under the UAPA for his alleged involvement in the riots in north-east Delhi in February 2020, and has been accused of being one of the “key conspirators” in the riots. Khalid had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging Delhi High Court's decision to deny him bail in 2022.

The Delhi Police FIR against Khalid includes charges under sections 13, 16, 17 and 18 of the UAPA, sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, and sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984.

The bench will also consider a set of writ petitions that challenge the Constitutional validity of certain provisions of the UAPA, along with Khalid's bail petition.

The hearing in the case was issued on 18 May 2023, and when it came up on 12 July, Delhi Police sought time to file additional details. On 24 July, Khalid’s lawyers sought adjournment. Then, on 9 August, Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra recused from the case and it was adjourned to 17 August.

On 17 August, Khalid’s bail plea was dropped from the SC cause list as it had been listed before a bench of justices AS Bopanna and Mishra.

On 5 September, the bail plea was put before a division bench comprising justices Trivedi and Dipankar Datta. It had to be adjourned as Sibal was unavailable since he was arguing the abrogation of Article 370 before the CJI.

It was then listed on 12 September before a bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Trivedi, who said the case would have to be heard and decided by going through the documentary evidence. During this hearing, Sibal had said several provisions of the UAPA, including those concerning terrorism, raising funds for terrorist acts, and conspiracy, did not apply in the case. The bench adjourned the case to 12 October.

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