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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

NE Delhi riots: HC stays trial in conspiracy case

While issuing a notice to the accused and giving them the liberty to file their written responses to the plea filed by Delhi Police, a single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait adjourned the hearing to December 15.

NE Delhi riotCommunal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured. (Express Archive)

THE DELHI High Court Tuesday stayed the trial in the “larger conspiracy” case in the Northeast Delhi violence, and issued a notice in the plea filed by Delhi Police against a trial court order directing the prosecution to supply hard copies of the chargesheet to the accused.

While issuing a notice to the accused and giving them the liberty to file their written responses to the plea filed by Delhi Police, a single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait adjourned the hearing to December 15.

On October 21, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat had said the investigating agency is duty bound to supply a hard copy of the chargesheet with accompanying documents to the accused, and directed that it be provided to them by November 3. The 15 accused had earlier been provided only soft copies and accompanying documents in pen drives.

Delhi Police, in the petition against the trial court order, argued that though the law mandates a hard copy be supplied to the accused, there is also an exception that if the documents are voluminous in nature, the court can direct that the accused be allowed to inspect it either personally or through a pleader in the court.

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Submitting that the accused have been provided the soft copy of the chargesheet in compliance with the law, police also argued that Section 207 CrPC mentions “copy” and does not draw a distinction between “hard” and “soft copy”.

It has also been said in the plea that the police report itself runs into about 2,700 pages and the total number of documents and statements of witnesses run into about 18,000 pages. The plea argues the trial court has passed a “mechanical order” while allowing the applications moved by accused under Section 207 CrPC.

In September, the chargesheet in the conspiracy case was filed against 15 accused, including suspended AAP MLA Tahir Hussain, Pinjra Tod activists Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan and Jamia Millia Islamia student Safoora Zargar. Investigation in the case is pending against Umar Khalid and others.

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The accused in the case are facing charges under various provisions of IPC, Arms Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and UAPA in connection with the violence witnessed in the national capital this February.

First published on: 11-11-2020 at 01:25:35 am
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