[Delhi Riots - Ratan Lal Murder] Delhi High Court grants bail to Shahnawaz, Mohd Ayyub, dismisses bail plea of Sadiq & Irshad Ali
The Delhi High Court today granted bail to Shahnawaz and Mohd Ayyub accused of of the murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and for causing injuries to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara and other police officials during the North East Delhi riots. The bail has been granted subject to conditions, the Court clarified.
The single Judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad however dismissed the bail application of Sadiq and Irshad Ali also accused in the same case.
Earlier on September 3, the Court had granted bail to accused persons Mohd Arif, Furkan, Shadab Ahmed, Suvaleen and Tabassum who were accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
After hearing each accused and the prosecution at length, the Court had reserved the order on Aug 16.
The Court while granting bail to the 5 accused said that the issue before the court for consideration was when an offence of murder is committed by an unlawful assembly, then whether each person in the unlawful assembly should be denied the benefit of bail regardless of his role in the unlawful assembly or the object of the unlawful assembly.
In this regard the Court said that “the Supreme Court has consistently held that in order to convict an accused with the aid of Section 149, a clear finding needs to be given by the Court regarding the nature of unlawful common object. Furthermore, if any such finding is absent or if there is no overt act on behalf of the accused, the mere fact that the accused was armed would not be sufficient to prove common object”.
Reiterating the legal doctrine that, “Bail is the rule and jail is the exception”, the court said that, “The Supreme Court has time and again held that Courts need to be alive to both ends of the spectrum, i.e. the duty of the Courts to ensure proper enforcement of criminal law, and the duty of the Courts to ensure that the law does not become a tool for targeted harassment”.
Having regard to the fact that accused Mohd Arif, Furkan, Shadab Ahmed and Tabassum have been in custody for a considerable period of time the Court said that “the Petitioner cannot be made to languish behind bars for a longer period of time, and that the veracity of the allegations levelled against them can be tested during trial”.
The court therefore asked each accused to furnish a personal bond of ₹35,000/- with one surety of the like amount, to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/ Duty Magistrate.
The accused have been directed not to leave NCT of Delhi without prior permission of the court and to report to the concerned Police Station every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 AM. They should be released after completing the formalities within half an hour.
The facts leading to the case are that on Feb 24, 2020 at about 01:00 PM, the protestors had mobilized near the Chand Bagh area and 25 Futa Road, and were moving towards the Main Wazirabad Road.
When they assembled near Main Wazirabad Road, it is stated that the complainant and other police officers present attempted to convince the protestors to not move towards the Main Wazirabad Road.
It is stated that though the ACP Gokalpuri and DCP Shahdara warned the protestors via loudspeaker of a government vehicle, that lack of adherence to legal warnings would necessitate strict action against the crowd, some people amongst the crowd started pelting stones and beat them with weapons that had been hidden.
This resulted in injuries to several police officers on duty and one of the Head Constables Ratan Lal succumbed to injuries.
Case Title: Batch of Petitions