Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ), Karkardooma Court Amitabh Rawat dismissed the applications of student activist Gulfisha Fatima, Saleem Khan and Tasleem Ahmed arrested under UAPA, seeking statutory bail in the matter of communal riots that broke out in February, 2020 in State of NCT of Delhi Vs. Tahir Hussain & ors. They have been booked under relevant sections of the UAPA, Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act for “premeditated” conspiracy in the riots. The ASJ noted, “There is no merit in the present application. Accordingly, the present application of accused Gulfisha Fatima under Section 167 (2) Cr.P.C stands dismissed.” Similar orders were passed for Saleem Khan and Tasleem Ahmed. Advocate Mehmood Pracha represented Gulfisha, Saleem and Tasleem and Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appeared for the Delhi Police.
Gulfisha’s application states that she was arrested on April 11, 2020 and has been in custody for 183 days as on October 12, when this application was filed. Since no charge sheet has been filed against her within the mandatory 90 days period by the Police, she should be released on bail under section 167(2) of the Cr.PC. Her counsel also referred to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bikram Singh v State of Punjab (Crl. App. No. 667 of 2020) to argue that only special courts have jurisdiction to try such cases and extend the period of detention in jail rather than the Hon’ble ASJ’s court.
The special prosecutor submitted that there was no merit in this application, as the Hon’ble ASJ’s court had been authorized by the Delhi High Court to deal with this matter through a notification dated 03.08.2020 issued by the Principal Secretary (Law, Justice and LA), Government of NCT of Delhi and one Administrative order dated 04.08.2020 issued by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi. He also submitted that the period of completion of investigation in the case was extended till September 17 and the charge sheet was filed on September 16 so the cognizance had already been taken the next day.
The court observed that Gulfisha had earlier moved the court for statutory bail under section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code on August 10, 2020 on the ground that the extension order dated June 29 under Section 43 D(2)(b) UAPA for extending the period of investigation till August 29 was not legal and without jurisdiction. But that application was dismissed by the court on August 31.
Further the court noted that there was another extension to the investigation period till September 17 and that the charge sheet was filed on September 16 itself. “Thereafter, the next development that took place is that further extension of the period for the investigation, under Section 43 D(2)(b) UA(P) Act, 1967 was granted till 17.09.2020 vide order passed by the undersigned. It is seen as per record, that the charge-sheet in the present case was filed on 16.09.2020 and in fact even cognizance was taken on 17.09.2020. The present accused with counsel was present on the said date”, it noted.
With respect to the court’s jurisdiction, it took into account the notifications submitted and said, “Regarding the competence of the Court to deal with the matter, the same is without merit.”
Communal violence had broken out in north east Delhi on February 24, 2020 between citizenship law protesters and supporters that left 53 dead and 200 people injured.
The orders can be read here: