Delhi High Court grants bail to Pinjra Tod member Devangana in North East Delhi violence case

In my considered opinion, no prejudice would be caused to the Respondent's investigation by grant of relief to the petitioner, the court said
Devangana Kalita
Devangana Kalita

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita in connection with a case related to the northeast Delhi violence in February this year. A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, while granting bail, said, "I find no substance in arguments of learned ASG and cases relied upon are no help in the facts and circumstances of the present case. Thus, without commenting on the merits of the prosecution case, petitioner deserves bail".

"She shall be released on bail on her furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of Trial Court, if not required in any other case. Petitioner shall not directly or indirectly influence any witness or tamper with evidence," the bench said. The bench said that it had gone through the inner case diary produced in a sealed cover and found that though her presence is seen in peaceful agitation, which is fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, the prosecution failed to produce any material that she instigated women of a particular community or gave hatred speech.

"Admittedly, agitation was going on since long, print and electronic media was present throughout in addition to cameras of police department, but there is no such evidence which establishes that the alleged offence has taken place on the act done by the petitioner, except statements recorded under section 164 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) much belatedly, though, those witnesses were allegedly remain present at the spot throughout," the order said.

"In my considered opinion, no prejudice would be caused to the Respondent's investigation by grant of relief to the petitioner, and she would be prevented from suffering further unnecessary harassment, humiliation, and unjustified detention. Moreover, persons similarly placed as the petitioner, as per documents placed on record by the investigating agency, have not been arrested by the investigating agency in the subject FIR, and as such, the continued custody of the petitioner in the subject FIR would serve no purpose," it added. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, arguing for the Delhi Police, had submitted before the court that Kalita had given false and misleading statements that poor people will be thrown out of the country and insitigated them for violence.

However, the court had asked the police to show any videos related to the submission. SV Raju said that there is no specific video of Kalita instigating people during the violence as she was making a statement a kilometre away and there was a gathering of thousands of people. Last month, the bail pleas of Pinjra Tod members Kalita and Natasha Narwal were dismissed by a trial court. Kalita was arrested on March 23 in an anti-CAA protest case related to Jafrabad in North-East Delhi but was granted bail thereafter. But soon after getting bail, she was arrested by Delhi Police on March 24 in another case and is now undergoing judicial custody.

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