The two applications filed by In-charge, Lock-Up, before the Karkardooma District Courts, Delhi, seeking to produce jailed human rights activists Khalid Saifi and Umar Khalid in handcuffs in both hands from back side, as they are “high-risk prisoners” have been deemed “bereft of any reasons”.
Bar & Bench reported that the Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said, “The instant applications are completely bereft of the reason(s), prompting the senior police officer(s) to take a decision to move such application(s). For want of material/reason(s) in respect of the applications in question, this Court is at a loss to consider the grant of prayer(s) in these applications.”
In this view of the matter, the court directed the DCP (Special Cell) who is dealing with the investigation of case FIR No.59/2020, PS Crime Branch (UAPA case against Khalid Saifi and Umar) to communicate the reasons for moving such applications before the District Court.
ASJ Vinod said, “In this view of the matter, let report(s) be called from DCP (Special Cell), who is dealing with the investigation of case FIR No.59/2020, PS Crime Branch and DCP, 3rd BN, DAP to communicate the reasons for moving such application(s) before this Court. The report be also called from Superintendent Jail concerned on these applications.”
The court asked the Public Prosecutor, Manoj Chaudhary about the applications and the meaning of high-risk prisoners and whether it is defined in any jail manual, Punjab Police Rules or the circular(s) issued by Delhi Police. Bar & Bench quoted the court saying, “The learned Special PP submits that he was not aware of the instant applications and as such, he could not take instructions in the matter.”
On April 15, Dr. Umar Khalid was granted bail by ASJ Yadav in the Delhi violence case after noting that he cannot be incarcerated on the basis of sketchy material. However, he remains in jail under stringent UAPA charges for being part of a larger conspiracy in the north east Delhi violence case of 2020.
Interestingly, according to a B&B report, the Delhi Police have moved the Supreme Court urging for the relaxation of the prohibition on handcuffing of prisoners during transit amid the Covid pandemic. The Police’s application reportedly states that there is a greater risk of viral transmission if the officers hold the prisoners’ hands during these times but if they are handcuffed, the police personnel escorting them can hold them from a distance, thereby ensuring safe distancing.
The matter will be heard on May 6.