The Delhi High Court denied bail to a “radicalized youth” noting that that he was a supporter of the ideology of ISIS, arranged illegal weapons and was involved in providing other logistic support to its cadres.

The Court noted that the two individuals apprehended by the Delhi Special Cell were allegedly affiliated with banned terrorist organizations (ISIS/SI/DAESH) armed with sophisticated weapons and were planning to travel to Kashmir for potential terrorist activities. Upon apprehension, one of the two accused in the case was found in possession of a pistol and mobile phones, with evidence suggesting connections to terrorist groups and involvement in arms procurement. The Court expressed that it was not merely a case of accidental discovery.

A Division Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Manoj Jain observed, “Once charges are framed, it can be easily assumed that there is a very strong suspicion against the accused. Therefore, in such a situation, the task of any such accused becomes much more onerous and challenging as it is never going to be easy for anyone to satisfy that the same set of material, which compelled the court to frame charges on the basis of strong prima facie case, would persuade it to hold to the contrary, by declaring that such accusation was not prima facie true.

Advocate Nizam Pasha represented the appellant, while APP Manjeet Arya appeared for the respondent.

The accused appealed under Section 21(4) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (NIA Act) challenging the trial court’s order rejecting his bail plea stating a prima facie case for offences under Section 18 & 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and Section 25 the Arms Act, 1959.

The High Court discussed the limitation on consideration of bail under Sections 18 and 20 of the UAPA which deals with punishment for terrorist activities.

While in the adversarial system, there is a presumption of innocence in favour of the accused and, therefore, bail is generally a rule, the Court explained that UAPA contained a modified application of certain provisions of the CrPC and thus commanded that “no person accused of an offence punishable under Chapter IV and/or Chapter VI shall, if in custody, be released on bail if there are reasonable grounds of believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true.

The Court outlined four important facets that must be considered for the grant of bail in such cases after observing that there can never be any restriction or embargo on moving application seeking bail:

  • Whether in view of the fact that charges have already been framed and such charges have not been challenged by the appellant, whether bail plea can be considered and whether the court can go on to opine that there are no reasonable grounds for believing the accusation to be prima facie true.
  • What should be the level of scrutiny for believing the same.
  • Whether the appellant has been able to show that there is no prima facie case against him.
  • Whether despite such statutory bar being in place and when prima facie is found to be made out, bail can still be granted in order to safeguard his fundamental rights.

The investigation revealed that the accused was a supporter of ideology of ISIS, had arranged illegal weapons, and was involved in providing other logistic support to its cadres.

The Court remarked that the accused was not in a position to “wriggle out of the statutory bar contained in proviso of Section 43D (5) of UAPA” as there were clear-cut allegations indicating accusations against him to be prima facie true.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title: Jamsheed Zahoor Paul v. State of NCT of Delhi (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:3227-DB)


Appellant: Advocates Nizam Pasha, Ahmad Ibrahim, Ayesha Zaidi, Siddharth Kaushik and Awastika Da

Respondent: APP Manjeet Arya

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