Refuses to stay HC order granting bail to three students in Delhi riots case
While refusing to stay the high court verdicts granting bail to the three accused, the bench said these judgements will not be treated as a precedent by any party before any court
The issue of reading down of anti-terror law UAPA is “important” and can have “pan-India ramifications”, the Supreme Court said on Friday, making it clear that the Delhi High Court verdicts granting bail to three student activists in northeast Delhi riots case will not be used as a precedent by courts in the country.
A vacation bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian termed as “troubling” that the high court has written over 100 pages discussing the entire anti-terror law UAPA while deciding the bail applications in the case and said it will require interpretation by the apex court.
The apex court agreed to hear the appeals filed by Delhi Police challenging the HC verdicts and issued notices to JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha seeking their responses.
While refusing to stay the high court verdicts granting bail to the three accused, the bench said these judgements will not be treated as a precedent by any party before any court.
“In the meantime, the impugned judgment shall not be treated as a precedent and may not be relied upon by any of the parties in any of the proceedings. It is clarified that the release of the respondents (Narwal, Kalita and Tanha) on bail is not being interfered at this stage,” the bench said in its order.
“Issue notice,” it said, adding, “Let the counter affidavits be filed within four weeks. List in the week commencing July 19, 2021 on a non-miscellaneous day.”
The bench took note of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s submission that the UAPA has been “turned upside down” by the high court in granting bail in the case.
“We would like to issue notice and hear the other side,” it added.
Mehta urged the apex court to stay the high court verdicts saying the findings arrived at in these judgements “virtually record acquittal for these accused” and other accused would also seek bail relying on them.
“The way the Act has been interpreted, probably it will require interpretation by the Supreme Court. That is why we are issuing notice,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the student activists, said there is no doubt that the apex court should consider the ramifications and interpretation of the UAPA so that there is a judgement on the issue from the top court.
“We are dealing with bail applications,” Sibal said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)