The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted time to the owner of a private school to file a reply on a plea by the city police challenging bail granted to him in a case related to communal violence in north east Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February.
Faisal Farooq, owner of the Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality was among the 18 arrested, for alleged involvement in burning and damaging property of the adjacent DRP Convent School.
Justice Suresh Kait, who conducted the hearing through video conferencing, said the response be filed within four days and listed the matter for further hearing on July 1.
The court on Monday had put a stay on the trial court’s bail order, saying “till further order, if the respondent/accused (Farooq), pursuant to order dated June 20 (of trial court) is still in custody, he shall not be released.”
At the outset when Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi started his arguments on behalf of the Delhi Police, the judge sought to know whether the controversy, which erupted on Monday, on who will represent the state has been resolved and why there was unnecessary interference.
On Monday, the hearing had seen exchange of words between Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra who submitted that the Central Government has no power to file this petition against the June 20 order of the trial court.
Later, Lekhi had appeared in place of the Solicitor General who submitted that in this situation, out of disgust, he seeks permission to withdraw his name from the petition.
On the court’s query on Tuesday, Lekhi said he was appearing for the Delhi Police and whatever happened on Monday was avoidable and unwarranted.
“I had the instructions to appear in the case which is why I appeared yesterday. It must have donned on him (Mehra) and he is not present in the hearing today which shows his objections were not well founded,” Lekhi said.
He contended that the police has challenged the trial court’s June 200 order by which Farooq was granted bail as the decision was ex-facie unwarranted.
During the hearing, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Farooq, said that on Monday the police arrested the school owner in another case and took him to custody. He sought time to file his reply to the petition.
The police, in the petition filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, have challenged the trial court’s June 20 order granting bail to Farooq on the ground that it was prima facie not established that he was present at the spot at the time of incident.
The Delhi Police had on June 3 filed a charge sheet before the court against Farooq and 17 others in the incident in which the building of a private school was burnt down in North East Delhi.
The trial court, in its bail order, had noted that the charge sheet filed against him in the case was bereft of material showing his alleged links with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group and Muslim clerics.
The trial court has said the accused would be released from jail on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 50,000 along with two sureties of the like amount.
It had directed Farooq to surrender his passport and not leave the National Capital Region without permission of the court. He should mark his attendance on every alternate Wednesday at the police station concerned. It also asked him not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet against the accused for allegedly conspiring with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group, Jamia Coordination Committee and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz for creating riots, in and around his school.
It has also been alleged that protestors against the CAA had received funds from the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) was founded in 2015 with an aim to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women students.
In 2015, the Jamia Millia Islamia University had issued a notice restricting female students from staying out after 8 pm. When the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) questioned the Jamia administration on it, a group of women students decided to protest against the restrictions not only in Jamia but other universities in Delhi.
Later named as Pinjra Tod, the group mobilised people around several issues faced by women residents of hostels and PGs.