Right to protest means the right to peaceful protest and not to resort to violence of any kind, even on provocation, observed a Delhi Court while granting bail to a 19 year-old youth in a case related to the violence on Republic Day during farmers’ tractor parade against the Centre’s three new agri laws. The court said though the riot which broke out on that day was violent and none of the act of the rioters/protesters comes within the purview of democratic right of protest, the guilt or innocence of the applicant is a matter of trial and nothing can be said about it at this stage, The relief was granted to the youth after the police said he has not been seen in any video footage committing the violence at the spot.
Additional Sessions Judge Samar Vishal granted bail to Sumit on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of like amount in the case of violence in Nangloi area. The court noted that out of the 20 accused persons arrested in the case, 19 have already been released on bail.
”The Prosecutor has rightly opposed the bail application of the applicant as the riot which broke out on that day was violent and none of the act of the rioters/ protesters comes within the purview of democratic right of protest. Right to protest means right to peaceful protest and not to resort to violence of any kind even on provocation. ”The facts portrayed by the prosecution shows that the acts of the protesters / rioters cannot be condoned. However, the guilt or innocence of the applicant (Sumit) is a matter of trial and nothing can be said about it, at this stage,” it said in its order passed on Thursday. It said Sumit was a young boy of 19 years and no previous criminal involvement was reported against him which showed that he has clean antecedents. It also said the accused was arrested on the identification of Constables Sonu, who had received simple injuries as per the report of the Investigating Officer (IO) in the case.
”Applicant/accused (Sumit) is a student stated to be pursuing two years diploma course from Govt Model ITI, Rohtak. On being asked from the Prosecutor whether he is seen in any video footage committing violence at the spot, to which the reply came in negative. ”Considering the age of the applicant/accused, his clean antecedents and the period of incarceration, I deem it fit to release him on bail,” the judge said. The court also directed Sumit to not leave the country without its prior permission and to surrender his passport (if any) at the police station within one week from his release.
It further directed him to physically mark his attendance at the Nangloi Police Station every 15 days and drop the pin on the Google Map to ensure that his location was available to the IO. During the hearing, advocates Arvind Singh and Gurmugh Singh, appearing for Sumit, claimed he had been falsely implicated in the matter.
Additional Public Prosecutor K P singh, appearing for the police, alleged Sumit was part of the mob which on January 26, 2021, assaulted police officers near Nangloi Chowk and obstructed them from discharging their official duty. Police claimed the accused was apprehended from the spot while he was running behind his 10 other alleged accomplices who were on two tractors and were heading towards Peeragarhi side. They further alleged that he was carrying a stick while indulging in violence. Tens of thousands of protesting farmers clashed with the police in the national capital on January 26 during a tractor parade to highlight their demands.
Many of them driving tractors reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where a religious flag was also hoisted. Over 500 police personnel were injured and one protestor died.