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3 Student Activists, Accused in Delhi Riots Case, to Stay Out of Jail as Supreme Court Rules in Their Favour

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

All three walked out of Tihar prison on Thursday.

Student-activists Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha will be out of jail, the Supreme Court said on Friday upholding Tuesday’s Delhi High Court order granting them bail.

Supreme Court’s two-judge vacation bench heared the appeal filed by the Delhi Police challenging the Delhi High Court’s order granting bail to the student activists in connection with Northeast Delhi violence.

All three walked out of Tihar prison on Thursday.

The order came two days after the Delhi High Court granted bail to Narwal, Kalita and Asif Iqbal Tanha, who were arrested in May last year under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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The three student activists were not released from the prison on time over delays in verifying their addresses and sureties.

In its order for the immediate release of the trio, the Delhi court said the delay in the verification process by the police could not be a plausible reason for the accused to be kept imprisoned.

After securing bail from the high court, the activists had moved the trial court, seeking immediate release from prison.

When the trial court deferred the order on their plea for Thursday, they moved the Delhi High Court, which ordered the lower court to proceed with the issue with “promptitude and expedition".

The three student activists were arrested in May 2020 and are accused of being the “masterminds" of the February 2020 violence, which left 53 people dead and more than 200 injured.

The high court, while granting them bail on June 15, had observed that “in an anxiety to suppress dissent, the state has blurred the line between right to protest and terrorist activity" and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a “sad day for democracy".

The Delhi Police has, however, moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court judgement granting them bail in the case.

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