Supreme Court refuses to set aside the bail granted to 3 student activists.

On 22nd July 2021, the Supreme Court’s bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta refused to set aside the bail granted by the Delhi High Court to three student activists. The activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Asif Iqbal Tanha were detained for last year’s communal violence in northeast Delhi concerning the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The bench opined that they are having a different view regarding the explanation of the provisions related to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for over 100 pages in the bail order and further stated that the Act might require Supreme Court’s interpretation.

Moreover, Justice Kaul expressed distraught over the debates on the statutory provisions in a bail trial and further stated that the provisions of an Act should not be debated in this manner as the bail proceeding are not final adjudicating proceedings.

Justice Kaul questioned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that whether the Delhi Police was aggrieved by the interpretation of UAPA or the grant of bail to the three activists. In response, SG Mehta said they are aggrieved by both and will try to convince the Court regarding the same.

The Delhi High Court on 15th June 2021, had set aside the judgment of the Trial Court denying bail to the three student activists and allowed their appeals by granting them regular bail on furnishing a personal bond. Furthermore, the Court also expressed disappointment and raised concerns over the blurred lines between the acts of terrorism and dissent by the Government.

On 18th June 2021, the Supreme Court’s vacation bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian refused to stay the bail granted by the Delhi High Court. However, the bench directed that the order of the Delhi High Court would not be treated as a precedent.

The matter has been adjourned for four weeks as Kapil Sibal Counsel for Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita sought some time and permission to submit a pen drive containing a charge sheet of 20,000 pages. Furthermore, the Court has granted the permission to submit an electronic copy of the charge sheet.

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