‘Can Demonstrate in 20 Mins That There’s no Case,’ Sibal Tells SC as Umar Khalid’s Bail Plea Deferred

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The activist, who was arrested in September 2020 under the stringent provision of UAPA, has spent over two years and 11 months behind the bars

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Citing paucity of time, the Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned to November 1 the hearing of the bail application of former JNU scholar and student activist Umar Khalid.

Appearing for Khalid, arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in the larger conspiracy leading to riots in North-East Delhi in 2020, senior advocate Kapil Sibal insisted that the matter be heard during the day itself. He said he could demonstrate in 20 minutes that there was no case against the accused.

However, the bench of Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Dipankar Datta rejected his request and posted the matter for hearing on November 1, media reports said on Thursday.

The activist, who was arrested in September 2020 under the stringent provision of UAPA, has spent over two years and 11 months behind the bars.

Delhi Police had charged him with offences of criminal conspiracy, rioting and unlawful assembly. He was further booked under several Sections of UAPA.

On September 12, the Supreme Court had listed the matter after four weeks on the grounds that it would have to go through the evidence on record and examine each document in order to assess whether the ingredients of the charges levelled against the JNU scholar in the charge sheet could be discerned.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench observed that the charge sheet has been submitted in the case, adding that it would have to go through the evidence to match the ingredients of offences with the charges.

Sibal sought listing of the matter after four weeks, saying that in the meantime, the Constitution Bench hearing in the case related to Article 370 would also be over.

The apex court then granted leave of four weeks and directed Sibal to place on record the evidence available under Chapters 4 and 6 of UAPA, along with details on how according to him, it was not matching the facts submitted in the case.

Sibal asserted that he had submitted the pages and everything. Besides the evidence, he said his first submission was that Sections 16, 17, and 18 did not apply at all.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju, representing the Delhi Police, sought a copy of the evidence being filed by Sibal, to which the senior counsel agreed. Sibal also asked for a copy of the documents being submitted by the ASG.

Khalid moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court order of October 18, 2020, which refused to grant him bail in the case. A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar had dismissed Khalid’s appeal after hearing arguments for more than 20 days.

Khalid had previously approached the high court challenging the dismissal of his bail application by the Karkardooma court in March 2022.

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