“Individual liberty cannot be misused in a way that threatens the social fabric by attempting to destabilize it, to cause harm” – Delhi HC in the riots case

While denying Mohd bail. Ibrahim in the case of the murder of police chief Ratan Lal during the riots in northeast Delhi, the Delhi High Court observed that individual freedom cannot be misused in such a way as to threaten the social fabric by trying to destabilize him or hurt others.

Judge Subramonium Prasad made the observation while passing the order in connection with the murder of Police Chief Ratan Lal and head injuries to a DCP during the riots in northeast Delhi that rocked the nation’s capital last year. (FIR 60/2020 PS DayalPur).

“This Court has already ruled on the importance of personal liberty in a democratic regime, but it should be emphatically noted that individual liberty cannot be misused in a way that threatens the very fabric of society. civilized by trying to destabilize it and hurt other people “, said the court.

Specific allegations against Ibrahim were that he was seen in various CCTV footage wearing a skullcap, black Nehru jacket and salwar-kurta and was identified on the camera installed by the Delhi government.

The prosecution’s thesis was that there were three videos which showed that the assault on police personnel was premeditated.

“The riots that rocked the nation’s national capital in February 2020 clearly did not take place on the spur of the moment, and the conduct of the protesters who are present in the video footage that was recorded by the prosecution visibly portrays that it was a calculated attempt to disrupt the functioning of government as well as disrupt the normal life of the townspeople ”, said the court.

It was also observed that the systematic disconnection and destruction of CCTV cameras also confirmed the existence of a pre-planned and premeditated plot to disturb public order in the city.

“This is also evident from the fact that countless rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas, bats, etc. on a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officers“, added the Court.

Ibrahim was denied bail after the court ruled that although he could not be seen at the crime scene, but was part of the crowd for the sole reason that he had consciously walked 1, 6 km from his neighborhood with a sword that could only be used to incite violence inflicting damage.

“In light of this, the images of the petitioner with the sword are quite egregious and are therefore sufficient to keep the petitioner in detention”, said the court.

The court issued the order after reserving it last month. She heard at length from various lawyers appearing on behalf of the accused as well as ASG SV Raju and Special Prosecutor Amit Prasad appearing for prosecution.

The court had reserved its order in 11 bail applications filed by different defendants in the FIR, with today’s ruling, orders have been issued in all 11 of them. The court recently granted bail to Shahnawaz and Mohd Ayyub while denying it to Sadiq and Irshad Ali. The court had previously granted bail to 5 accused persons, namely Mohd. Arif, Shadab Ahmad, Furkan, Suvaleen and Tabassum earlier this month.

About FIR 60/2020 (PS DayalPur)

FIR 60/2020 was recorded on a police officer’s statement that on February 24 last year he was on public order duty with other staff in the Chand Bagh area.

It was said that around 1 p.m. protesters carrying danda, lathies, baseball bats, iron bars and stones began to gather on the main road to Wazirabad and disregarded instructions. senior officers, thus becoming violent.

It was further stated that after repeated warnings to protesters, moderate force and gas shells were used to disperse the crowd. According to the gendarme, violent protesters started beating people as well as police officers, as a result of which he himself was injured in his right elbow and hand.

He also said the protesters attacked DCP Shahdara, ACP Gokulpuri and Police Chief Rattan Lal, as a result of which they fell on the road and were seriously injured. All of the injured were taken to hospital, where HC Rattan Lal was found to have already died from injuries sustained and DCP Shahdara was unconscious with head injuries.

Observations on the granting of bail to Shahnawaz and Mohd Ayyub

While giving Mohd Ayyub bail, the court observed that there was no electronic evidence placing him at the crime scene at the time of the alleged incident. She further observed that he could not be detained solely on the basis of the disclosure statements.

“The fourth indictment has already been filed and the trial in this case is expected to take a long time. This Court is of the opinion that it would not be prudent to keep the applicant behind bars for an indefinite period at this stage. The Applicant has roots in society and therefore there is no danger that he will run away and flee ” said the court.

While granting bail to Shahnawaz, the Court reiterated the fundamental right to demonstrate and express his dissent and held that the fact that he took part in the demonstration is not sufficient grounds for denying him the right to protest. release on bail.

“The mere fact of being one of the organizers of the demonstration and of being in contact with other persons who took part in the demonstration is also not sufficient to justify the assertion that the applicant was involved in the protest. advance planning of the alleged incident “, the court observed.

Observations on the denial of bail to Sadiq and Irshad Ali

The court, while denying Irshad Ali bail, took note that he was seen in CCTV footage, wearing a danda and provoking a crowd.

“The decisive evidence which inclines this Court to prolong the applicant’s imprisonment is his presence in the video of Vishal Chaudhry in which he is clearly identified at the scene of the crime, using a stick to beat the uniformed police officers who are present around. him “, said the court.

The Court therefore considered that the images of Irshad Ali at the scene of the crime were sufficiently flagrant and therefore sufficient to keep him in detention.

Making similar observations while denying Sadiq bail, the court said he was not just a curious bystander.

“The fact that he actively participated and threw stones at the police officers at the scene of the crime justifies the invocation of Article 149 IPC read with Article 302 IPC in the present case” the court observed.

Observations of the Court in granting bail to co-accused

In the case of Mohd. Arif, the Court noted that the applicability of Article 149 of the IPC, read specifically with Article 302, cannot be made on the basis of vague evidence and general allegations. When there is a crowd, when granting or refusing bail, the court must hesitate before coming to the conclusion that each member of the illegal assembly has a common intention to accomplish the common illegal object.

“Bail jurisprudence attempts to bridge the gap between the personal liberty of an accused and ensuring that social security remains intact. It is flagrant and contrary to the principles enshrined in our Constitution to allow an accused to remain languid behind bars for the duration of the trial. Therefore, the Court, while deciding on an application for the granting of bail, must follow this complex path very carefully and thus take into consideration multiple factors before arriving at a reasoned order by which it grants or rejects the release on bail,“said the court.

He added :

“It is the constitutional duty of the Court to ensure that there is no arbitrary deprivation of personal liberty in the face of an excess of state power. Bail is the rule and jail is the exception, and courts must exercise jurisdiction to uphold the principles of personal liberty, subject to legitimate regulation of liberty by validly enacted legislation. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the courts must be attentive to both ends of the spectrum, that is, the duty of the courts to ensure the proper application of criminal law, and the duty of the courts to ensure that the law does not become an instrument of targeted harassment ”.

From the outset, the Court observed that the applicability of Article 149 IPC, read specifically with Article 302, cannot be made on the basis of vague evidence and general allegations.

“When there is a crowd involved, when granting or denying bail, the court must hesitate before reaching the conclusion that each member of the illegal assembly has a common intention to to accomplish the illegal common purpose. added the court.

In granting bail to Shadab Ahmad & Tabassum, the court held that the mere act of protest should not be used as a weapon to justify the incarceration of those who exercise this right.

Click here to read the order