The Supreme Court today issued a notice in the Special Leave Petition filed by a former JNU student Umar Khalid challenging the order passed by the Delhi High Court denying him bail. Khalid is an accused in a case involving the UAPA Act, related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 riots in Delhi.

The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli issued the notice in the SLP, returnable in 6 weeks. The Bench also granted liberty to move before the vacation bench, if required.

Appearing for Khalid, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal submitted, "I will mention some dates, 17th February he is in Amravati then 22nd February he is not here". The Bench issued notice and asked the Respondents to file their reply within 6 weeks and posted the matter after the summer recess.

The Delhi High Court had on October 18, 2022, dismissed the bail application filed by Umar Khalid. The High Court noted that the acts of the accused prima facie qualified as terrorist acts under the anti-terror law UAPA. The Delhi High Court Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said that the anti-CAA protests metamorphosed into violent riots, which prima facie seemed to be orchestrated at the conspiratorial meetings, and the statements of the witnesses indicate Khalid's active involvement in the protests.

In its 52-page order, the Court observed that the planned protests were not the kind that is normal in political culture or democracy (but were) far more destructive and injurious and geared towards extremely grave consequences and the acts of the accused prima facie qualified as a terrorist act under UAPA.

Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed the SLP filed by Delhi police challenging the order of the Delhi High Court which had granted bail to the Pinjra-Tod group activist Devangana Kalita, Asif Iqbal Tanha and Natasha Narwal. The Court noted that the respondents are out on bail for almost 2 years and dismissed the batch of appeals.

Cause Title: Umar Khalid v. State of NCT Of Delhi [ Diary No. 14476/2023]