New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday put off the hearing on the bail application moved by Jamia student Safoora Zargar till June 23.
This followed the Delhi Police requesting court to grant them a day’s more time for seeking instructions on a plea by Zargar, who was pregnant and arrested under the anti-terror law –UAPA -- and is seeking bail in a case related to communal violence in Northeast Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who conducted the hearing through video conferencing, allowed the request after Zargar’s counsel said she has no objection to it and listed the matter for Tuesday.
Zargar, M Phil student of Jamia Millia Islamia University, is more than four months pregnant.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Delhi Police, sought a day’s time to take instructions on the issue and said it will be in “larger interest” if he is given indulgence.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi also joined Mehta and said they are ready with the arguments on merits of the case but they do not intend to proceed on merits at this stage.
Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Zargar, said the woman is in a delicate state and is in a fairly advanced stage pregnancy and if the police need time to respond to the plea, she be granted interim bail for the time being.
The high court asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta to come back with instructions on Tuesday.
The police has also filed a status report in response to the bail plea.
Jamia Coordination Committee member Zargar, who was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on April 10, has challenged in the high court the June 4 order of the trial court denying her bail in the case.
The hearing in the high court also witnessed exchange of words between Mehta, Lekhi on one side and Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra who objected the appearance of the two senior law officers on behalf of Delhi Police in the case.
Mehra contended that unlike another North East Delhi violence matter in which requisite approval was sought by the Delhi Police to be represented by a team of lawyers led by the Solicitor General, no such procedure was followed in this case.
"They know that my view in such cases will be more humanitarian and not as per their whims and fancies. I am not supposed to be the mouth piece of the Delhi Police, I am an officer of the court," he said.
Lekhi shot back "a client chooses the lawyer and a lawyer cannot impose himself on the client.
He said this controversy would deviate the court from the issue in hand and Mehra's objection can be kept aside in this case.
The high court concluded the hearing, asking the counsel for Delhi Police to sort out their battles by tomorrow.
The trial court, in its order, had said “when you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire.”
It had said that during the course of investigation a larger conspiracy was discernible and if there was prima facie evidence of conspiracy, acts and statements made by any one of the conspirators, it is admissible against all.
The trial court had said that even if there was no direct act of violence attributable to the accused (Zargar), she cannot shy away from her liability under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
However, the trial court had asked the jail superintendent concerend to provide adequate medical aid and the assistance to Zargar.
The police had earlier claimed that Zargar allegedly blocked a road near Jaffrabad metro station during the anti-CAA protests and instigated people that led to the riots in the area.
It further claimed that she was allegedly part of the “premediated conspiracy” to incite communal riots in northeast Delhi in February.
Communal clashes had broken out in Northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and scores injured.