Hard to Reject Bail to Rioters Accused of Causing Death of Own Community Member: Delhi High Court

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This case concerns a bail application of the petitioners who were accused of being involved in the Hindu-Muslim riots that took place in North-East Delhi, during the CAA protests. 

Brief facts of the case

This is a bail application filed by the petitioners under Section 439 Cr.P.C. read with Section 482 Cr.P.C., for the offences punishable under Sections 147/1418/149/153-A/302/395/397/452/454/505/506/120-B IPC, registered at North East District, Delhi. 

This petition was filed relating to the same incident and the evidence and FIR were the same against all the petitions and thus will be decided by this common order. Therefore, the facts narrated by the petitioner-Junaid were discussed for passing orders.

This application arose from the incident of stone-pelting and rioting that took place in the North East area of Delhi, while protests were going on against CAA. While the Muslims were protesting Hindus entered and then firing and stone-pelting from both sides began, and in a short time, it became a full-fledged Hindu-Muslim riot. During this, one Shahid received a gunshot injury which led to his death. 

Appellant’s argument

It was submitted that the petitioner is innocent and was falsely implicated. The petitioner was called upon through notice under Section 160 Cr.P.C. that he was required for some normal inquiry and would be sent back after that. However, after putting the petitioner into custody an afterthought story was made and he was falsely implicated. There was no relevant testimony even from the eye-witnesses. There was no proof in the charge-sheet as well regarding the presence of his mobile phone at the place of the incident. 

The reliance of prosecution upon a video of an NDTV prime time show, could also not prove the presence of the petitioner on the scene of the crime as none of the persons present was identified as Junaid. 

 There was no independent evidence that the prosecution wants to keep the petitioner in custody, if the statement of Mukesh, one of the prosecution’s witnesses was removed from the charge-sheet, there is no evidence against the petitioner and no offence is being made out. Even the statements of the police officials also do not establish the presence of the petitioner. Thus, the prosecution has no cogent evidence against the petitioner.  Thus, he deserves bail. 

Respondent’s argument

The present case is squarely covered by the judgment titled Raiees Khan vs. State of NCT Delhi, wherein the High Court pleased to dismiss the bail application of the co-accused in the present FIR whose case was also similarly situated as the petitioner’s case. 

The veracity of the statement of public and police witnesses was closely examined by the Court in the aforesaid judgment, thus came to the finding that the present stage is not fit for granting bail to co-accused. Even the CDR analysis, guarantees the presence of the petitioner at the scene of the crime. 

The public eye-witnesses very-well identified the petitioners at the place of the incident. From the footage of NDTV, it was established that the petitioner was a part of an unruly mob when the deceased Shahid was injured by a gunshot. The petitioner’s name was also disclosed by the co-accused, Raiees. Thus, the presence of the petitioner at the scene of the crime was established. 

Moreover, the character, antecedents, behaviour, means, position, and standing of the petitioner also do not entitle him to seek bail. There is the possibility that he may indulge in such activities if enlarged on bail and may also influence witnesses as they belong to weaker sections of the society. 

Observation by the Court

It was observed that there is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial or forensic against the petitioners. Neither there was any motive whatsoever either for them or for any other person allegedly present there, to commit the offence, nor has the prosecution alleged any motive in the entire case.  thus, it is hard to believe that a communal riot can be used by the petitioners to cause the death of the person of their community. 

It is admitted case of the prosecution that the petitioners let go of the witnesses of the different community ad asked them to leave the scene of the crime to save their lives, if they were involved in this communal riot and wanted to cause harm to the members of the other community, they would not have tried to save their lives. 

The investigation, itself has stated that the main assailant who caused gunshot injury to the deceased Shahid, is yet to be arrested. The co-accused Raiees was denied bail by the Co-ordinate Bench of this Court, which was considered. But the facts brought in the present petitions were not brought to the notice of the Court while deciding the bail application of the c0-accused named above. 

The decision of the Court

Considering the facts and the fact that the Charges are yet to be framed and thereafter, the trial will take substantial time, thus the petitioner deserves bail. They shall be released on bail furnishing a personal bond in the sum of ₹ 25,000 each with one surety. 

The Petitions were accordingly allowed and disposed of. 

Click here to read the judgement.


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