Devangana Kalita
Devangana Kalita
Litigation News

Anti-CAA protests: "Accused is not a habitual offender" Delhi Court grants bail to Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita in Daryaganj FIR

Aditi Singh

A Delhi Court today granted bail to Pinjra Tod member, Devangana Kalita in the Daryaganj FIR which was registered in connection with the December 2019 Anti-CAA protests.

Devangana, who was already in judicial custody in connection with the FIR registered for the February Jafarabad anti-CAA sit-in protest, was arrested by Crime Branch, Delhi Police on May 30.

Devangana was thereafter remanded to three days of police custody.

On the expiry of the police custody, Delhi Police today moved an application before Abhinav Pandey, Duty Metropolitan Magistrate, Tihar Jail, to send Devangana to judicial custody for 14 days. Since the plea was unopposed, she was remanded to judicial custody till June 16.

Shortly after the order, counsel for Devangana appeared before the Court and moved an application seeking bail.

Counsel for Devangana informed the Court that they could not appear before it on time as the Investigating Officer had not initimated the time of the hearing to them.

Since the counsel were late "by a few minutes only", the Court proceeded to take up the bail application.

Counsel for Devangana submitted that co-accused in the FIR have already been granted bail and all cooperation would be extended by her to facilitate the investigation.

After hearing the parties, the Court observed that till now, no direct evidence had been found to establish that Devangana indulged in the commission of offences under Section 325/353 IPC.

It said,

The accused, allegedly, on the basis of social media posts participated in protest against the NRC Bill, but so far as the investigation been carried out till now, no direct evidence attributable to the accused has been found to bring the offences u/s 325/353 IPC.
Delhi Court

The Court noted that investigation in the FIR was carried out on the basis of the MLCs of the injured persons to ascertain their presence at the scene of the occurrence at the time of the commission of the offences.

As far the present case was concerned, the Court observed,

CCTV footage also reportedly does not show the accused to be involved in any violent activity. Disclosure statement made before the police and the injuries on the accused reflected in the MLC which the accused got conducted on her own accord, is not sufficient to make a strong prima facie case against the accused so as to deny bail.
Delhi Court

The Court further recorded that no incriminating evidence was recovered from the laptop and the phone of the accused.

Thus, holding that an inference that Devangana incited or participated in the mob violence could be reached only after the appreciation of evidence during trial, the Court granted bail to her.

"Accused is not a habitual offender or a previous convict and the other criminal proceedings pending against it relates to same or similar incidents. Accordingly, this Court is of the opinion that the accused can be released on bail subject to stringent conditions..", the Court concluded.

As per the Court's direction, the bail is conditional on Devangana furnishing personal bond of Rs 30,000 with two local sureties in the same amount.

In spite of the bail order, Devangana will not be released on account of her implication in the February Jafarabad anti-CAA sit-in protest case. Devangana, alongwith Natasha Narwal, was sent to judicial custody in the Jafarabad matter last month.

On December 21, 2019, Bhim Army Chief, Chandra Shekhar Azad also arrested in the same Daryaganj FIR. After being remanded to judicial custody, he was granted bail on Additional Sessions Court in January 2020.

Advocates Adit Pujari, Tusharika Mattoo appeared for Devangana.

Read the order:

Devangana Kalita - Daryaganj FIR Bail Order.pdf
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