The High Court of Delhi on Friday gave permission for virtual hearing of a petition filed by the National Investigation Agency (NI) seeking death sentence for Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, convicted in a terror funding case.
The orders were passed by the Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anish Dayal on an application moved by the Tihar Jail Superintendent seeking modification of the Court’s earlier order mandating Malik’s personal appearance in the case.
Appearing for Tihar, Standing Counsel (criminal) of Delhi government Sanjay Lao cited an order issued by the President of India last year, which stated that Malik was a threat to the society and therefore, he should not be moved out from jail or taken out from Delhi till one year or completion of his trial.
He further said that Malik has been lodged in Tihar Jail, New Delhi under the category of very high risk prisoners and thus, producing him physically in the court would prove to be a heavy security issue.
The Counsel urged the High Court to permit online appearance of Malik, in order to maintain public order and safety.
The High Court then modified its earlier order passed on May 29 issuing production warrants against Malik for August 9.
On July 21, Malik had appeared before the Supreme Court in a CBI case. Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta had then written to the Union Home Secretary stating that Malik’s presence in the Apex Court was a matter of grave security lapse since the convicted terrorist could ‘have escaped’ or could have been ‘killed’.
NIA has moved the High Court challenging the trial court order, which awarded life imprisonment to Malik. The national agency sought death penalty for the accused.
A Special NIA court had sentenced Malik to life imprisonment in a terror funding case in May 2022. He was convicted of offences under Section 120B, 121, 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 13 and 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act read with 120B of IPC besides Sections 17, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of UAPA.
Malik had pleaded guilty in the case.
Special Public Prosecutor Akshai Malik along with Advocates Akshay Sehgal and Khawar Saleem appeared for NIA.