Khalid has been in custody for more than 2 years now as he was arrested on September 13, 2020 in a larger conspiracy case of Northeast Delhi riots.
A division bench of two judges – Justice Siddhart Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar pronounced the order. Earlier, on September 9, the court had reserved its order.
Khalid’s lawyer and senior advocate Trideep Pais had submitted that his client has been in custody for the last two years on the basis of baseless statements. Even after filing four charge sheets, the investigation is still going on. Also, pointing out that Khalid was not even present in Delhi when the riots started.
The Delhi police on the other hand had submitted that Khalid left Delhi on February 23, a day before the violence started so that no one could doubt him.
In the April hearing, the video of the speech made by Umar Khalid in Amravati in February 2020 was played up in the High Court.
During arguments before the Delhi High Court, Pais had argued that Khalid’s speeches had a “categorical call for non-violence” and protest.
The High Court bench had observed that the speech was “obnoxious” and “offensive”
Senior advocate Pais had submitted that the speech was made in the context of the CAA protests and hash words used against the government cannot be an offence under the UAPA.
Justice Bhatnagar, who was sharing a bench Justice Mridul had asked Pais if it was proper to uses word “Jumla” against the Prime Minister of India.
Justice Bhatnagar had orally remarked, “there has to be a line for criticism also. There has to be a lakshman rekha.”
Trial court order
Umar Khalid appealed in High Court after he was denied bail in the Karkardooma Court in March 2022.
In the trial court, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat pointed out that Khalid was connected with many accused persons in the Delhi riots and that his presence throughout in several WhatsApp groups during the period beginning from the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in December 2019 till the February 2020 riots, had to be read in totality and not piecemeal.
Khalid has been charged under Sections 13, 16, 17 and 18 of the UAPA. He is also charged under Section 25 and 27 of the Arms Act and Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The initial charge sheet included Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Asif Tanha and Gulfisha Fatima. Khalid’s name was included in a supplementary charge sheet along with Sharjeel Imam.
Kalita, Narwal, Tanha and Jahan have already been granted bail by the courts in the case.