Delhi riots: HC seeks response from Delhi police on plea challenging cognizance of charge sheet

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New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from Delhi Police on a petition challenging the order of the trial court taking cognisance of the charge sheet in Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case relating to alleged larger conspiracy that led to the north east Delhi riots.

Justice Mukta Gupta asked special public prosecutor Amit Mahajan to bring the stand of the investigating agency on record and listed the matter for further hearing on August 27. Accused Tasleem Ahmed, Gulfisha Fatima and Saleem Khan had moved the high court last year alleging that the sessions court which took cognizance of the charge sheet filed in the case in September last had no competence and jurisdiction to do so.

The high court had issued notice in December last but no written submissions were sought then. In their petition filed through advocates Mehmood Pracha and Jatin Bhat, the three have said that “charge sheet in the matter was filed before a Sessions Court, which in contravention of the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, especially Section 193, and provisions of other statutes”. It is asserted that no sessions court can take cognizance of an offence as a court of original jurisdiction.

The petition further alleged that in the present case, cognizance was taken by the session judge without hearing the parties and “without fully going through the contents of the charge sheet, as thereafter, the prosecution itself moved an application, claiming that due to inadvertence, the names of witnesses whose identities had been ordered to be protected under Section 44 of the UAPA, had been disclosed”.

In September last year, sessions court had taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by Delhi police under UAPA and other legal provisions against 15 persons for larger conspiracy in northeast Delhi riots.

Those named in the charge sheet included ex-AAP councillor Taahir Hussain, ex-Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, Saifi Khalid (activist of United against Hate campaign), Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider, Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal.

Thereafter, in November last year, cognisance was taken by session court of the supplementary charge sheet filed against former JNU student Umar Khalid and JNU student Sharjeel Imam in the case.

Fatima's habeas corpus petition alleging that her continued detention in the case was illegal detention is pending before the high court.

Communal clashes had broken out in north-east Delhi on February 24, 2020 after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured. PTI ADS RKS RKS

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