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Delhi riots: Court issues notice on fresh bail plea of Umar Khalid

A Delhi court sought the response of the prosecution on a fresh bail petition filed by former JNU scholar and activist Umar Khalid, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in Delhi riots 2020.

The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai of Karkardooma Courts. The ASJ issued notice on the bail petition and listed the matter for further hearing on March 11.

The former JNU scholar filed a fresh bail application in the trial court under Section 437 of Cr.P.C read with Section 43D (5) of UAPA after withdrawing his bail plea from the Supreme Court.

Earlier in March 2022, the trial court had dismissed his regular bail plea.

Delhi Police has arrested Khalid on September 13, 2020, in connection with the Delhi riots case. He was alleged to be the mastermind behind the communal riots that broke out in Delhi leaving 53 people dead and over 700 injured. He has remained behind the bars since.

He was booked under Sections 13, 16, 17, and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, 1959, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.

Earlier on February 14, the former JNU scholar withdrew his bail application from the Supreme Court.

Appearing for Umar Khalid, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that the petition is being withdrawn in view of change in circumstances and to seek bail afresh before the trial court.

Subsequently, the bench of Justice Bela Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal dismissed the petition as withdrawn. Nonetheless, Senior Advocate Kabil Sibal clarified that he will argue the separate writ petition filed by Khalid challenging the constitutionality of the provisions of UAPA.

Umar Khalid has been behind bars since September 2020, awaiting his trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in the larger conspiracy surrounding the communal violence that broke out in February 2020 in the national capital.

The Supreme Court bench was hearing Khalid’s special leave petition challenging the decision of the Delhi High Court to deny him bail in October 2022. Umar Khalid has also filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, challenging various provisions of the anti-terror statute.

The Supreme Court tagged this plea with earlier petitions filed challenging the constitutionality of UAPA provisions. It further decided to hear the batch of petitions challenging UAPA provisions along with Khalid’s bail application.

Notably, this particular case has also witnessed the recusal of one of the judges, Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, who was slated to hear it in August last year. Additionally, the hearing has been adjourned several times since notice was issued by the top court in the activist’s plea.

Khalid has approached the top court challenging an October 2022 Delhi High Court judgment denying bail to him in connection with the Delhi Riots larger conspiracy case. He was arrested by the Delhi Police in September 2020 and charged with criminal conspiracy, rioting, unlawful assembly as well as several other offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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