Litigation News

[Delhi Riots] Delhi HC dismisses former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan plea against extension of period of investigation

The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today dismissed former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan's petition against the extension of time period to conclude the investigation in a case against her related to this year's Delhi Riots. (Ishrat Jahan vs State)

The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

It was Jahan's case that there were no compelling reasons to grant extension of time for the investigation in the case, and that the report of the public prosecutor under Unlawful Assembly Prevention Act before the trial court was devoid of any application of mind.

Counsel for Jahan had contended that addition of provision under UAPA was an abuse of the legal process and was done only subvert and defeat her right to seek regular and statutory bail under the Cr.P.C.

Delhi Police informed the Court that during investigation, in view of the evidence gathered, Sections 13/16/17/18 UAPA were added to the FIR in question.

It was argued that the extension was duly granted in compliance of the ingredients of Section 43D of the UAPA and that the scope of inquiry by the Court was very limited.

Delhi Police further pointed out that the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, which extended the period of investigation by 60 days, was passed after hearing Jahan on that aspect, though the same is not mandated.

The Court was assured that the investigation in the case was ongoing and would be completed within the extended timeline.

To arrive at its conclusion, the Court relied on a series of judgements passed by the High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Court noted that in terms of the proviso of Section 43-D UAPA, when it is not possible to complete the investigation within the period of 90 days, the court may, if it is satisfied with the report of the Public Prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the period of 90 days, extend the period upto 180 days.

"The prosecutor has to see whether the professed requirement of the investigating agency is justified. This justification, is based not only upon the application of the investigation officer but also on the progress of investigation as recorded in the case diary.", the Court explained.

The Court also observed that at the stage of extension of time for completion of investigation or extension of the period of detention, an accused cannot ask to see the reports of the learned Public Prosecutor.

The reports are to satisfy the Court about the progress of investigation and the justification for seeking extension of time to complete the investigation, the Court added.

In view of the above, the Court perused the report of the prosecutor in the present case and the order passed by the Trial Court.

I am of the view that Public Prosecutor had moved an application, for extension of time to file chargesheet, after going through the whole matrix of the case and after satisfying himself as per the law as enumerated in the second limb of Section 43(D)(2)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Learned Judge also after going through the facts and circumstances and mandate of provisions of law of the Act mentioned above and after recording his satisfaction had passed impugned order.
Delhi High Court

The Court concluded that there was no illegality or perversity in the order passed by the Court and the petition was dismissed.

Advocates Lalit Valecha, Manu Prabhakar, Tushar Anand, Abhinav Meena appeared for Ishrat Jahan.

State was represented by Delhi Government Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra, APP Amit Chadha with Central Government Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan and SPP Amit Prasad.

Read the Order:

Ishrat Jahan vs State- judgement.pdf
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