Delhi High Court on Tuesday, June 15, granted bail to Pinja Tod activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, who were arrested in connection with the February 2020 Northeast Delhi Riots under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (UAPA) Act.
The condition for bail is subject to the personal bond of ₹50,000 and two local sureties. All three have been asked to surrender their passports and not indulge in activities that would hamper the case, reported Bar and Bench.
In its order, the Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani noted that the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest is misconstrued for terrorist activity.
"It seems that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred. If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy," the media quoted the bench.
The Bench noted that even if protests are large and become disorderly, they do not qualify as terrorist offences. They were unpersuaded and unconvinced by the Delhi Police's investigation in the case.
"We find ourselves unpersuaded and unconvinced with this submission since we find it is not founded on any specific factual allegation and we are of the view that the mere use of alarming and hyperbolic verbiage in the subject charge-sheet will not convince us otherwise," The Quint quoted the statement.
Both Narwal and Kalita are PhD scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University and are associated with the Pinjra Tod Collective. Tanha is a final year student of the B.A. (Hons. - Persian) Programme at Jamia Millia Islamia.
The three were arrested last year, in May, under the stringent UAPA and have been in continuous custody since then.
Granted Bail In 2020
Last week, the collective had released an official statement about how Narwal and Kalita were granted bail in September last year, but they remain imprisoned on account of the UAPA registered FIR 59.
At the time, the Delhi High Court had said the police failed to show her role in instigating women and deliver inflammatory speeches during the CAA protests. Kalita was seen participating in a peaceful protest, the Court had added.
Last month, Natash Narwal was granted interim bail for three weeks by the Court to perform her father —Mahavir Narwal's last rites, who succumbed to COVID-19.