Anti-CAA protests: Delhi court grants bail to 12 people in Seemapuri violence case

Anand Mohan J
Anti-CAA protests: Delhi court grants bail to 12 people in Seemapuri violence case

As per court records, the accused persons were part of a crowd numbering around 1,000-1,500 persons, who were carrying placards and protesting against the CAA. (File)

Observing that right to protest is a fundamental right in a democracy but this right does not extend to disturb public order, a Delhi court Friday granted bail to 12 people arrested in connection with violence in Seemapuri area of northeast Delhi during recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra granted relief to the accused on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each and one surety of like amount. The Judge also directed the accused persons to appear before the IO or SHO at Seemapuri police station on January 19 between 2 pm to 4 pm, where the policemen shall make an endeavor to remove their doubts pertaining to CAA.

It directed them to join the investigation as and when required by the investigating officer and not to do "any act which may disturb the public peace".

While granting bail the court said, "Right to protest is recognised as a fundamental in a democracy but this right of peaceful protest and open criticism of government policies do not extend to disturb the public order i.e. public peace, safety, and tranquility. The Constitution of India also prohibits a person from making any statement that incites people to commit an offence".

When the IO in the case was asked by the court whether any of the men were depicted in CCTV footages or in videos played by television channels pelting stones or causing damage, the IO replied: "Two men were identified after going through the CCTV footage but were not depicted in the videos pelting stones. The IO went on to naming accused Hazi Mehraj of inciting the crowd, saying he snatched a baton of a Head constable and gave it to someone else.

Mehraj, on the other hand, annexed CCTV footage along with an application claiming that till 4 pm, he was present inside his house.

The counsel for the accused persons submitted before the court that there was a delay of more than 5 hours in registering the FIR, some of the men were not present at the spot, and those present were peacefully protesting against the CAA.

The police, on the other hand, had submitted to the court that all the accused persons were a part of an unlawful assembly, pelted stones upon the police party, due to which 7 police officials sustained injuries and two public vehicles were also damaged. The police also claimed that co-accused are yet to be arrested.

As per court records, the accused persons were part of a crowd numbering around 1,000-1,500 persons, who were carrying placards and protesting against the CAA. When the senior police officers from the area tried to pacify them, the crowd resorted to stone-pelting and were instigated to kill police officers.