The High Court granted Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita bail on September 1. The police have failed to show how Kalita instigated "women of particular community or gave hatred speech due to which precious life of a young man has been sacrificed and property damaged," the high court noted.
Her presence at the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protest is seen "in peaceful agitation, which is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait noted in his order.
Pinjra Tod--of which Kalita is part of--describes itself as an autonomous collective effort to ensure secure, affordable and non-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi.
The Delhi police arrested Kalita on May 24 in connection with the protests that allegedly resulted in the Delhi riots earlier this year in February. The police have accused her on 33 charges under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Arms Act, 1959, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, and the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. There are four cases against Kalita and she has been accused as one of the key conspirators of the February violence. Kalita secured bail in three of the four cases. Last week, Kalita withdrew her plea seeking bail in the fourth case in which she has been accused under the UAPA.
Even though Kalita has been granted bail, she will remain in judicial custody.
Justice Kait observed that police investigation would not be affected if Kalita was released on bail and "she would be prevented from suffering further unnecessary harassment, humiliation, and unjustified detention". The judge also pointed out that other persons who are also accused in the Delhi riots have not been arrested "and as such, the continued custody" would "serve no purpose".
The court noted that Kalita was cooperative with the police at the time of her arrest and did not "even file for anticipatory bail because she had no reason to believe that she ought to be in custody. The petitioner is a student pursuing her higher education and sufficient standing in society without any possibility of fleeing from justice," the order read.
In granting her bail, the court observed that Kalita could not tamper with evidence since it is "available with the Investigating Agency, and there is no documentation/evidence of any other nature in her possession." It further said that Kalita was not in a "position to influence witnesses in the FIR, which in any event appears to relate to public servants/ police officials, and in any case, she came to be arrested almost three months after the registration of the FIR.
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