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Conspiracy is hatched in secret, says court, dismisses Natasha bail plea

The court noted there was “no gainsaying the fact that all citizens of the country under the Constitution have the right and freedom to protest, including the right to oppose any legislation. However, it is not an absolute right but subject to reasonable restrictions.”

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
January 29, 2021 4:47:44 am
Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita

A Delhi court Thursday dismissed the bail plea of Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal, booked under the UAPA in a Northeast Delhi riots case, and noted that “not having a video was not so vital as generally conspiracy, by its very nature, is hatched in secrecy”. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat in his order said, “… not having videos of such a conspiracy was obvious rather than doubtful.”

The court said that in a case of conspiracy, even the presence of an accused at a site was not sine qua non (essential condition) for establishing his or her role. “In the present case, the presence of accused is established over a period of time. Thus, on perusal of chargesheet and accompanying documents, for the limited purpose of bail, I am of the opinion that allegations against accused Natasha Narwal are prima facie true,” the judge said in his order.

The court noted there was “no gainsaying the fact that all citizens of the country under the Constitution have the right and freedom to protest, including the right to oppose any legislation. However, it is not an absolute right but subject to reasonable restrictions.”

It said the reliance by Natasha’s counsel on videos or other material outside the chargesheet was of no assistance. It added that references to various other persons, who, as per the counsel for accused, had allegedly given incendiary speeches during Delhi elections or later on, was “not as such germane to the bail plea, since the court was considering bail plea of Narwal and not others, particularly those who are not accused in the present case.”

“Thus, pre-planned vociferous agitation in the guise of Citizenship Amendment Bill coupled with other resultant activities of confrontation and violence leading to riots would show it was meant to cause or intended to cause disaffection against India,” the court said.

It further said it was relevant to mention that even taking the arguments of the accused’s counsel at face value that only one side of the road was blocked, it would “still be a complete blockage preventing ingress and egress for people who are surrounded and for whom panic and terror was created”.

“In fact, there was a reference to the accused regarding the distribution of red mirchi powder to women for attacking police and paramilitary dated February 23, 2020. Thus, there is contemporaneous record which cannot be wished away at this stage of bail,” the court said.

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