Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

Delhi HC issues notice in plea concerning illegality of custody under UAPA in the absence of Special Courts due to COVID-19

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court yesterday issued notice in a habeas corpus petition concerning the alleged illegality of custody of a detainee under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), in the absence of functioning of Special Courts due to COVID-19. (Aqil Hussain vs NCT of Delhi)

Notice to the Delhi Government and Delhi Police was issued by a Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar.

The Petitioner's sister was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with an FIR registered for an anti-CAA protest at North-Delhi's Jafarabad area on Februray 22.

On May 1, when the Petitioner's sister approached the Duty Mteropolitan Magistrate for grant of regular bail, it was informed that she was being investigated by the Crime Branch, Delhi Police in another FIR for commission of offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

While the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate dismissed the bail application, the same was allowed by the Duty Sessions Judge.

However, the Petitioner's sister continued to be in custody due to charges pending in the FIR concerning UAPA charges.

The Petitioner has submitted that the due to invocation of charges under UAPA, only a Special Court constituted and empowered under Section 13 of the NIA Act could remand a detainee to custody.

Since these Special Courts have not been sitting during the lockdown due to suspended functioning of courts, custody of the Petitioner's sister was without authority of law and illegal.

..illegal detention without authority of law is squarely in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India which prevents the state from depriving a person of their life and liberty without due process of law.
the Petiitoner has contended.

In view of the above, the Petitioner has sought a direction to the Authorties to immediately release his sister.

The petitioner was represented by Advocates Mehmood Pracha and Jatin Bhatt.

The matter would be heard next on May 29.

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