This article on ‘Umar Khalid’s Case: What’s Happening In The Case?’ was written by Toya Sen, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Recently, in Umar Khalid’s Case, a former JNU student, researcher, and activist who has been accused as the chief instigator of the 2020 Delhi riots has taken a new turn. The Supreme Court in its recent judgement regarding the case has adjourned the hearing of the accused bail plea. Khalid who has been arrested under the charges of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as he was protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, is awaiting trial and has been behind bars for the past 2 years and eleven months.
A division bench comprising Justice A.S Bopanna and M.M Sundresh is looking into the decision of the Delhi High Court that denied him bail last year.
During the brief hearing today, the counsel representing the Delhi Police sought more time to file a counter-affidavit. As a protest, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who is appearing for Khalid questioned the counsel on what basis would the counsel file a counter, as the man has been in custody for almost 3 years. Initially, the bench agreed to the request for adjournment of the plea and said the matter would be brought into court this Friday. However, the police counsel requested more time to prepare as the charge sheet was given to him 2 days ago stating that it is ‘voluminous’ consisting of thousands of pages.
The bench finally agreed to adjourn the hearing till Monday, which is the 24th of July with Justice Bopanna firmly saying, “Whether, on Monday, the board is heavy, we have to decide.” “May take 1-2 minutes for this”, Justice Sundresh added.
The case against Umar Khalid continues to unfold, with court proceedings and hearings taking place to determine his guilt or innocence, we need to understand the facts and issues of the case leading up to this decision. This article will provide a brief overview and provide insight into the legal aspects of this case.
What’s Happening In The Umar Khalid’s Case?
Facts of the Case:
- In April 2020 after the violence that transpired in the Northern part of India, a First Information Report (FIR) came to be registered by the Crime Branch alleging that the riots which took place in North East Delhi were pre-planned by Umar Khalid along with his acquaintances from different organizations.
- It has been alleged that Umar Khalid had made provocative speeches at different locations and had requested the people to come out to protest and block the streets of Delhi during the visit of US President Donald Trump to shed light on an international level that minorities were being discriminated against in India.
- Khalid and many others have been charged in connection to the communal riots which took place. According to government statistics, fifty-three people died during the protests and more than five hundred people were injured.
- Six months after the FIR was registered, Umar was arrested by the Delhi Police on September 2020 under FIR 59 and charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which included terrorist activity and conspiracy. He was also charged under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder, rioting, sedition, conspiracy, and promotion of communal enmity.
- Umar Khalid was formally arrested in October 2020 under FIR 101 but had been granted bail in April 2021
- On October 18 last year, the High Court rejected Khalid’s bail plea, saying he was in constant touch with other co-accused and allegations against him are prima facie true. The Court also mentioned that the actions of the accused prima facie had qualified as a ‘terrorist act’ under the UAPA law. The Delhi Police had argued that Umar’s speech was ‘very calculated’ and brought up various issues that indicated the alleged suppression of Muslims and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
- Whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence of instigating and conspiring the 202 Delhi riots.
- Whether there is a danger of the accused absconding or fleeing if he were to be released on bail.
- Whether there is a likelihood of the offence being repeated.
- Sections 147 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code, 1980 (Rioting)
- Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1980 (Murder)
- Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (Unlawful Assembly)
- Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1980 (Sedition)
- Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, 1980 (Promotion of enmity between groups)
- Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (Unlawful activities)
- Sections 16 to 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (Terrorist activities)
- Section 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (Conspiracy)
- Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, 1959 (Use of arms)
To conclude, this case has gained significant attention from the general public over the past few years. The recent adjournment of Umar Khalid’s bail pleas has raised important questions in the minds of people, especially regarding the factors that influence the decision. The outcome of this case will not only have implications for the accused but it will also set a precedent for similar cases involving protest, freedom of expression, and especially the use of the UAPA. It highlights the need for a thorough examination of the evidence, adherence to due process, and the careful evaluation of factors determining bail decisions. This case also reminds us of the need for a fair and speedy trial as well.
List of References
- Awstika Das, Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing In Umar Khalid’s Bail Plea After Delhi Police Seeks More Time to File Counter-Affidavit, LiveLaw, 12 July 2023, available at: https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-sc-bail-umar-khalid-unlawful-activities-prevention-act-delhi-riots-larger-conspiracy-case-adjournment-232535?infinitescroll=1
- Betwa Sharma, 1000 Days Without Trial Or Bail For Umar Khalid, Denied Bail Despite False Allegations, Article 14, 9 June 2023, available at: https://article-14.com/post/1000-days-without-trial-or-bail-for-umar-khalid-denied-bail-despite-false-allegations-fabrications-and-inconsistencies-6482500d54eea
- Ayushi Budholia, UAPA Case & Umar Khalid Conviction, Law Insider, 19 August 2022, available at: https://www.lawinsider.in/columns/uapa-case-umar-khalid-conviction