The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the response of Delhi police on human rights activist Umar Khalid’s plea for bail in connection with the February 2020 communal violence in the national capital for which he has been in jail for over two years.
Khalid was arrested on September 4, 2020, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) following the flare-up in Delhi during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and anti-NRC protests. Khalid had been booked in two cases in connection with the riots but has been discharged in one of them.
The bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks. Justice Bopanna, who headed the bench, offered to list the matter for hearing next month, but senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Khalid, opted for the matter to be heard after the summer recess.
The court will be on summer vacation from May 22 to July 2. During this period, only vacation benches will assemble to hear urgent matters.
Khalid has sought bail on the ground that he neither had any criminal role in the violence nor any “conspiratorial connect” with any other accused in the case.
Khalid has filed an appeal against a Delhi High Court division bench order that in October last year dismissed his bail plea after holding that there was prima facie material to justify his arrest under the UAPA for allegedly delivering provocative speeches that preceded the riots.
The Delhi police had in the high court opposed Khalid’s bail plea, saying the speech delivered by him was “very calculated” and brought up issues like the Babri Masjid, instant triple talaq, Kashmir, the alleged suppression of Muslims and the CAA-NRC.
Additional reporting by PTI