The Hon’ble District Court of Tiz Hazari at New Delhi granted bail to “Pinjra Tod” member, Devangana Kalita vide order dated 02.06.2020 in FIR No. 250/90 that was registered in relation with the Anti- Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 protests held at Daryaganj.
The order was passed in response to a bail application filed by Advocate Adit S. Pujari and Tusharika Mattoo, representing the Accused. Devangana Kalita was arrested by the Daryaganj Crime Branch, Delhi Police on 30.05.2020 for allegedly participating in the anti-CAA women’s sit-in protests at Daryaganj and was subsequently sent to a three-day judicial remand.
On the expiry of the police custody, Delhi Police moved an application before Justice Abhinav Pandey, Duty Metropolitan Magistrate, Tihar Jail, to send Devangana to judicial custody for 14 days. Since the plea was unopposed, she was remanded to judicial custody till 16.06.2020.
The present bail application was thus filed to avail the release of the Accused.
Adit S. Pujari and Tusharika Mattoo, Counsels for the Accused submitted to the Hon’ble District court that due to the Investigating Officer not intimating them about the court timings, they were unable to attend the hearing on time. Since the counsels were late “by a few minutes only”, the Court proceeded to take up the bail application for hearing.
The Counsels further submitted that the Accused was ready to cooperate in the investigation procedure and fulfil all the required conditions in the present matter; hence she should be released on bail.
In what reads like a stern indictment of the police, Magistrate Pandey while granting bail to Kalita stated as follows, “The accused allegedly, on the basis of social media posts participated in protests against the NRC Bill, but so far as the investigation been carried out till now, no direct evidence attributable to the accused has been found to bring her to the offences u/s 325/352 of IPC.”
He further said that the police charged Kalita on the basis of medico-legal certificates (MLCs) of injured persons who claimed she was present at the scene of the violence, but “CCTV footage” did not “specifically show the accused to be involved in any violent activity.” He contended that mere MLCs of the injured persons were not sufficient to make a strong prima facie case to deny bail to the Accused. Justice Pandey added that no incriminating material was found in Kalita’s laptop and phone and hence it was difficult to establish that Kalita had incited or participated in any violent activity. He acknowledged the possibility that Kalita, who is not a habitual offender or a previous convict, could have intended to participate in a peaceful protest which later turned violent.
Granting bail to the Accused, Justice Abhinav Pandey put forward the following conditions to be fulfilled by the Accused:
- The Accused will not indulge in any similar activity and will cooperate with the investigating agency.
- A personal bond of Rs. 30,000/- (Rupees Thirty Thousand) along with two local sureties in the same amount shall be submitted by the Accused.
- The Accused shall submit her passport to the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate / concerned court until further orders.
The Accused was meanwhile sent to judicial custody till 16.06.2020 until the fulfilment of the abovementioned conditions.
Along Kalita, Jamia Millia Islamia students Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, and Asif Iqbal Tanha have also been arrested and slapped with the stringent UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967) charges in connection with their alleged role in the Delhi violence.