Delhi High Court's decision is groundbreaking: Authorities have succeeded in frightening off other young boys and girls from protesting- JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA

16th June,2021

Delhi High Court's decision is groundbreaking: Authorities have succeeded in frightening off other young boys and girls from protesting- JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA


In a case involving the Delhi Riots, the Delhi High Court granted Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, and Natasha Narwal bail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) [UAPA] Act on Tuesday. The decision is being viewed as a departure from recent cases in which bail was rejected. While the High Court has been praised for its progressive rule, it has also established ground-breaking legal principles, according to retired Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Gupta. In today's orders, there is a strong emphasis on personal autonomy. Bail has previously been denied in comparable circumstances, with "the gravity of the offence cited as a cause. What are your thoughts on the Court's current approach? Justice Deepak Gupta: This decision provides a ray of hope for those who believe in individual liberty, particularly civil liberties. However, this is significant in another context, because there is a presumption that bail cannot be given unless the court finds that a prima facie case exists that bail must be given. The Delhi High Court today essentially concluded that bail for an infraction under the UAPA can be granted even if there is no prima facie cause (for relief). As a result, the verdict is pro-liberty and well-written. In all three verdicts handed down today, there are certain commonalities. I'm quite pleased with how the decision was crafted and written. The High Court ruled that the UAPA does not apply to offences that are covered by the Indian Penal Code and other statutes, and that a court must apply its mind independently to a matter brought under the UAPA. Do you think the way trial courts handle bail applications in UAPA cases will change as a result of these orders? Justice Deepak Gupta: I'm Deepak Gupta, and I'm The Delhi High Court provides an excellent explanation of what UAPA is. The act was passed in 1967, and terrorism was added subsequently. It's mostly for issues included in Entry 1 of List 1 (of the Constitution's Seventh Schedule), which is 'Defense of India.' If a murder occurs, it will no longer be considered a crime under UAPA. These are laws that have been adopted to deal with extremely serious and grave charges that jeopardise the country's sovereignty. I believe that just protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is not a basis for being charged under UAPA. When it comes to bail, how do you strike a balance between national security and personal liberty? Deepak Gupta: Obviously, if the Court believed that the claims in the chargesheet were a threat to the country's sovereignty, it would not have granted bail. The Court came to the preliminary finding that this was not terrorist conduct in the sense that it threatened the nation's sovereignty. This practise of refusing bail simply by adding something (such as UAPA charges) is extremely dangerous, and courts are hesitant to give release in sensitive situations.

Every citizen has the right to protest, regardless of whether or not the protest is warranted. the protestors have the right to demonstrate as long as it is peaceful. Even if it isn't peaceful, the customary rules of law will apply. It does not turn into a terrorist act. What the Delhi High Judge decided is crucial: a court has the authority to determine whether a matter fits within the scope of UAPA.