Says it will examine Delhi High Court’s observations on UAPA
NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Delhi High Court’s bail order and decided that student leaders Asif Iqbal Tanha, Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita will stay on bail and remain out of jail.
However, the high court ruling granting bail to the trio will “not to be treated as precedent by any court” to give similar reliefs, a vacation bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said while hearing an appeal of the Delhi Police challenging the bail order.
Tanha, Narwal and Kalita have been accused in the Delhi riots case and held under UAPA, or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They came out of Tihar Jail on Thursday following a Delhi court’s direction that they be released immediately as per June 14 order of the high court. Delhi Police had sought delay in their release seeking time to verify their addresses. The court did not buy that argument and ordered their release.
The Supreme Court bench emphasized that the high court judgment may have wide ramifications and hence, the top court will have to examine it, and favoured staying the effect of the judgment so that it can’t be used as a precedent in any other case for the time being. “The issue is important and could have a pan-India impact, we like to issue notices”, said the bench. The apex court will hear the matter next month, the bench said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the police, contended that the High Court made wide ranging observations and the judgment should be stayed by the top court. “They (the three activists arrested under UAPA) are out. Let them remain out”, submitted Mehta.
Mehta stressed that the entire UAPA and Constitution have been turned on their heads by the High Court in the judgment.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the student activists, submitted that he doesn’t oppose a scrutiny by the top court of the High Court order, but resisted a stay on the operation of the judgment. Mehta said the High Court order will be cited before the trial court; therefore, it requires a stay.
The top court said the way the Delhi High Court has interpreted UAPA, when it was not even requested to do so, requires it to examine the issues raised by the Delhi Police.