Delhi Riots Evidently Pre-Planned, Not Spur Of The Moment: High Court

The Delhi Police accused 17 persons of murdering head constable Ratan Lal during the February 2020 Delhi Riots.

The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that Mohd Ibrahim's conduct, by allegedly participating in the February 2020 communal violence, shows that the Delhi Riots was evidently pre-planned.

Denying Ibrahim bail, the high court further observed that individual liberty cannot be misused in a way that it threatens the fabric of society by attempting to destabilize it or cause hurt to others.

Ibrahim is one of the 17 accused in connection with the murder of Delhi Police Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a North-East Delhi Deputy Commissioner of Police during the February 2020 riots. 11 of the accused had sought bail, of which the high court granted bail to seven and denied bail to three including Ibrahim.

Also Read: Delhi Riots: 5 Accused Of Murdering Head Constable Ratan Lal Get Bail

Delhi Riots evidently did not take place in a spur of the moment

Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that the conduct of the protestors who were seen in CCTV footage supplied by the police show that the riots which shook the national capital of the country in February 2020 evidently did not take place in the spur of the moment.

"The conduct of the protestors who are present in the video footage which has been placed on record by the prosecution visibly portrays that it was a calculated attempt to dislocate the functioning of the Government as well as to disrupt the normal life of the people in the city," Justice Prasad observed.

"The systematic disconnection and destruction of the CCTV cameras also confirms the existence of a preplanned and pre-meditated conspiracy to disturb law and order in the city. This is also evident from the fact that innumerable rioters ruthlessly descended with sticks, dandas, bats etc. upon a hopelessly outnumbered cohort of police officials," the judge further observed.

The high court judge said that a perusal of the material on record revealed that Ibrahim has been clearly identified on multiple CCTV footages, carrying a sword, and instigating the crowd. Footage of Ibrahim carrying a dangerous weapon that is capable of causing grievous injuries and/or death was the "clinching evidence" that factored in the court's decision to deny him bail.

The court also observed that the defense counsel's argument that Ibrahim carried the sword "merely for self-defence" in a bid to protect himself and his family does not stand as the video footage places Ibrahim 1.6 kilometres away from his residence and does not reveal that any immediate impending harm would come to him.

Furthermore, Ibrahim couldn't claim parity with his co-accused who was granted bail because unlike him, "none of the co-accused have been caught with a dangerous weapon capable of inflicting grievous injuries and/or even causing death", the court said.

Also Read: Delhi Riots: Police Failed to Prove Case Against Tahir Hussain's Brother

Individual liberty cannot be misused in a manner that threatens fabric of society

The court denied bail after observing that though he cannot be seen at the scene of crime (Ratan Lal's murder), Ibrahim was clearly a part of the mob for the sole reason that he had consciously travelled 1.6 km away from his neighbourhood with a sword which could only be used to incite violence and inflict damage.

Justice Prasad underscored the importance of personal liberty in a democratic polity but categorically noted that individual liberty cannot be misused in a manner that threatens the very fabric of civilised society by attempting to destabilise it and cause hurt to other persons.

Justice Prasad clarified that his observations were limited on the issue of denial of bail and cannot be taken into consideration during the trial.

Also Read: How An Anti-CAA Protestor Got Charged For Murder And Terrorism

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