The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita in a case related to to the riots and violence that broke out in northeast Delhi earlier this year.
“She did not try to evade arrest or even file for anticipatory bail because she had no reason to believe that she ought to be in custody. The petitioner is a student pursuing her higher education and sufficient standing in society without any possibility of fleeing from justice,” said a single judge bench presided by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Kalita challenging a trial court’s order which had dismissed her bail application.
It further observed that Kalita was arrested even without a notice under Section 41A of the Cr.P.C.
Moreover, she remained at her home on May 23, provided her phone to the Respondent (Delhi Police) previously, and even joined the investigation.
The bench also noted that the evidence in relation to the participation of the petitioner in the protests in question, are available with the Investigating Agency, and there is no documentation/evidence of any other nature in her possession.
“Regarding third test i.e. influencing witnesses are concerned, the petitioner is not in position to influence witnesses in the FIR, which in any event appears to relate to public servants/ police officials, and in any case she came to be arrested almost three months after the registration of the FIR,” the court said.
Following these observations, the court granted bail to Kalita on her furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of Trial Court.
Justice Kait also directed Kalita not to directly or indirectly influence any witness or tamper with the evidence.
“The petitioner shall not leave country without permission of the Trial Court,” the bench said.
As per the prosecution, Kalita’s role in the present case has emerged as that of the main conspirator, inasmuch as, she with an intention to flare communal passion and to instigate a section of people to indulge in rioting, did all the preparatory work such as organising and mobilisation of crowd, sustaining the mobilised mob of a particular community at the protest site, and thereafter, to instigate them.
The petitioner and another member Natasha Narwal were arrested in the case in May by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including rioting, unlawful assembly and attempt to murder.
The two women were also booked under the stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a separate case related to the communal violence.
Initially, Kalita was arrested on March 23 in an anti-CAA protest case related to Jafrabad in northeast Delhi but was granted bail thereafter.
But soon after getting bail, she was arrested by Delhi Police on March 24 in another case and now undergoing judicial custody.
The police said that both Narwal and Kalita were actively involved in hatching the conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station in Delhi.