Northeast Delhi riots: HC stays trial against 15 charged under UAPA


Accused include Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and former Congress councillor from Jagatpuri Ishrat Jahan

The Delhi High Court has stayed the trial of 15 accused, including Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, charged under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.

“Till further order, trial is stayed,” Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said while hearing the plea of Delhi Police challenging a trial court’s order directing the agency to provide hard copies of the chargesheet to the 15 accused.

Justice Kait also issued notices to all the accused on the police’s plea and posted the case for further hearing on December 15.

The Delhi police has challenged the trial court’s September 21 and October 21 orders, directing it to supply the physical copy of the chargesheet along with documents to the accused.

The plea said the police report itself was running into about 2,700 pages and the total number of documents and statements of witnesses were running into about 18,000 pages and there were 23 volumes, including the police report, which were filed before the trial court.

All the accused persons had been given the copy of the chargesheet in pendrive which was a sufficient compliance of the Code of Criminal Procedure. There was a proviso that if any document was voluminous, then instead of furnishing a copy, the court could direct that the person be allowed to inspect it either personally or through a pleader in court, the plea said.

The trial court had, however, declined the police’s plea saying, “even though, it may be desirable to have soft copies of the chargesheet, the law still mandates that a hard copy is to be made available to the accused”.

Some of the accused persons have sought for a searchable digital copy of the chargesheet and various other chat groups as included in the police’s application.

Those who have been chargesheeted under the stringent UAPA Act include Ms. Narwal and Ms. Kalita, former Congress councillor from Jagatpuri Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee media coordinator Safoora Zargar, student activist Gulfisha Khatoon, and social activist Khalid Saifi.

The list also includes activist Meeran Haider, Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, former Jamia student Shifa-Ur-Rahman, and five others — Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd. Saleem Khan and Athar Khan.

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