HC grants bail to Safoora Zargar as police doesn’t oppose it
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday granted bail to Safoora Zargar, the pregnant Jamia university student who was arrested under anti-terror law UAPA in a case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta did not oppose the court’s decision on humanitarian grounds.
At the outset, Mehta, representing Delhi Police, submitted that Zargar can be released on regular bail on humanitarian grounds and the decision has not been taken on merits of the case and should not be made a precedent.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who conducted the hearing through video conferencing, released Zargar, who is 23-week pregnant, on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and surety of the like amount.
The court said she shall not indulge in any activity for which she is being investigated and shall not hamper or interfere with the on-going investigation or influence the witnesses.
It also said that in case Zargar needs to travel, she has to seek permission from the trial court and will remain in touch with the investigating officer of the case over mobile phone once in 15 days.
Mehta, who was briefed by advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, said the order which is based on concession shall not be cited or treated as a precedent in any other case.
“Without in any manner conceding to the factual assertions and legal submissions made by the petitioner and without in any manner diluting the contents and submissions made in the reply filed thereto and without making it a precedent either in on-going investigations or any other investigation, purely on humanitarian ground, the prosecution agrees if the petitioner is released on regular bail,” said the statement read out in the court by Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi.
Mehta also urged the court to impose certain bail conditions on the accused woman.
Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, representing Zargar, said she has no difficulty with the statement made by the Solicitor General.
The court made it clear that the order is not passed on merits and it be not treated as precedent.
On Monday, Mehta had sought a day’s time to take instructions on the issue.
Delhi Police, in its status report, opposed Zargar’s bail plea saying a “clear and cogent case has been made out against her as such she is not entitled to bail in view of grave and serious offences which have been meticulously and surreptitiously planned and executed by her”.
The police said “there is strong, cogent, reliable and sufficient material available proving the direct involvement” of Zargar, M Phil student of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
The police said she has been lodged in a separate cell and chances of her contracting coronavirus from any other person do not arise.
Further, it maintained that there is no exception carved out for a pregnant inmate who is accused of such heinous a crime to be released on bail merely because of pregnancy.
The police said that 39 deliveries have taken place in Delhi prisons in the last 10 years.
Jamia Coordination Committee member Zargar, who was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on April 10, had challenged in the high court the June 04 order of the trial court denying her bail in the case.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and scores injured.
The report, filed through DCP of Special Cell, said statements of witnesses and co-accused clearly implicate Zargar as being a leading co-conspirator in commissioning of serious offence of causing large-scale disruption and riots, not only in Delhi but also in other parts of the country.
“The present case pertains to grave offence against the society and nation. The investigation is at a very crucial juncture, and therefore, considering the sensitivity and the broad nefarious conspectus of present case, it would not be in the interest of justice as well as in public interest to grant bail to the accused at the present stage,” it said.
The report said the motive and the idea behind this conspiracy was ‘to go to any extent possible’, be it a small scuffle with the police during blockage or instigation of riots between two communities or to advocate and “execute a secessionist movement in the country by propagating an armed rebellion against the lawfully constituted government of the day.”
It was decided that the “anti-government feeling of Muslims” will be used at an appropriate time to destabilise the government, the police claimed.
The protests were carried out during the visit of US President Donald Trump to India “to attract international media attention to propogate a narrative that the government of the day was anti-Muslim,” the report said.
“This sinister and nefarious conspiracy was designed in various levels according to which the facade of a civil disobedience or protest was to be maintained to buckle the government to agree to the illegitimate demands of the accused,” it said.