Spotlight is a series where we shine the, well, spotlight on lawyers who made the news over the past week.
The week saw Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad make elaborate submissions on why bail should not be granted to seven Delhi riots accused persons, including former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid.
Prasad, who has been representing the investigation agency in the main case of conspiracy that attracts stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, vociferously voiced the prosecution’s contentions on three occasions this week.
Prasad is one of the special prosecutors appointed for conducting the Delhi riots cases. He has appeared before the Delhi High Court and the special courts in the conspiracy case, which has over a dozen accused persons; a sedition case against Sharjeel Imam; and many other cases stemming from the North-East Delhi violence of February 2020.
After completing his schooling from the Apeejay School in New Delhi, Prasad enrolled in the Maharshi Dayanand University, following which he began his legal career in 1998. He now has over two decades of experience.
Prasad has been appearing in some of the most high-profile cases related to the Delhi riots ever since his appointment. He has extensively argued for the prosecuting agency, supplementing his submissions with digital aids to demonstrate maps, routes and footage related to the cases.
A regular figure in Delhi's Karkardooma Courts since the inception of designated courts for the Delhi Riots cases, Prasad often balances his time between overlapping hearings. The riots cases have garnered immense media attention and public glare in the last year or so.
This week, he advanced common arguments against the bail plea of seven accused persons, connecting the dots of “conspiracy” with the alleged role of each individual in the riots.
Some of Prasad's crucial arguments this week were:
When accused had a conversation on “inciting violence,” the name of BJP member Kapil Mishra had not even surfaced, indicating that they were only building a narrative.
Conspirators “deflected” the blame towards Chandrashekhar Azad's Bhim Army, Prasad argued on Wednesday. He pointed out how some of the protesters had urged others to de-escalate.
He made the distinction among the terms bandh, dharna, protests, chakka jam and disruptive chakka jam.
On why the alleged offences fell under definition of “terrorist act” under UAPA, he said attempts were made to threaten the unity, security and sovereignty of India, as arms and ammunition had caused death and disruption of supplies.
He argued that none of the conspirators, but the public at large, suffered as a result of the Delhi riots.
In the same case, the Court on Friday passed an order on the dos and don'ts for media reporting virtual proceedings.