The Delhi Police has appealed the Delhi High Court to overturn a special court judgement giving bail to Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan in connection with the February 2020 riots in North-East Delhi. She was arrested on February 26, 2020.
The case has been scheduled for hearing before a single judge bench led by Justice Anu Malhotra. On March 14, Ishrat was granted bail by the city’s Karkardooma Court. The police has challenged the said order, requesting that Ishrat’s bail be revoked.
In its appeal, Delhi Police claims that the lower court ignored the evidence and statements presented to it and issued an order “discarding the evidences which clearly made out a sinister plot of engineering mass-scale violent riots” in the national capital.
It was alleged that the time of the riots was carefully picked by Jahan and other co-conspirators to coincide with the visit of the American President in order to capture the attention of international media. The petition further contended that the lower court’s order was not only contrary to established law, but also contained flaws that went to the core of the matter.
“all the preparation of riots such as stocking of arms, stones etc were done in advance and upon the arrival of the American president under a deep-rooted conspiracy operating on various levels, in guise and under the cloak of right to protest disruptive chakka jam were organized, people from a particular community were gathered, indoctrinated, mislead by instilling fear in them that they would lose their citizenship if CAA was implemented and thus a super charged environment was created which forced the innocent to take arms into their hands.”
Jahan was detained in March 2020 in connection with the Delhi Riots case for alleged violations of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the Arms Act, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
She had later filed a bail application with the Special Court. The Trial Court granted bail to Ishrat Jahan, noting that there was no allegation in the chargesheet that she was physically present in the North East Delhi regions during the February 2020 riots, nor that she was a member of any organisation or WhatsApp group that was part of the alleged conspiracy.
According to the chargesheet, Jahan was participating in a protest site at Khureji, which was one of the protest sites against CAA and NRC, although it was not located in North-East Delhi, where the riots occurred. The Court ruled that it did not appear to be “contiguous to North-East Delhi.”
According to the prosecution’s argument, the accused engaged in a deliberate conspiracy to incite riots in North East Delhi.
The prosecution had challenged the plea’s maintainability, claiming that a plea submitted under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) could not be heard by a special court.
During a previous hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad said that Jahan was in contact with other accused with whom she had no connection, and that this was done solely to achieve the goal of rioting.
FIR 59/2020 filed against Jahan includes serious allegations such as Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 of the UAPA, Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, as well as other offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
In July of last year, the Delhi High Court denied the former Congress Councillor’s petition challenging the extension of time to complete the inquiry in the case against her.
Case Title: Ishrat Jahan vs State