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'Very unlikely': SC on cops' plea to cancel UAPA bail

Very unlikely: SC on cops plea to cancel UAPA bail

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that "it is very unlikely" that the Delhi Police will be able to convince the Court to set aside the bail given to anti-CAA activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha by the Delhi High Court in the UAPA case related to the Delhi riots last year — but they are welcome to try.

A division bench of Justices SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta if they were aggrieved with the bail granted to the activists or the interpretation of the UAPA as put forward by the HC in its order.

On this, SG Mehta said that they were aggrieved with both the issues and would like to address the Court on both counts. However, Justice Kaul shot back saying he had an issue over statutory provisions being discussed in bail orders.

"This has troubled us many times. Bail matters are heard at length in trial court, High Court and here. You can't do it here. We only propose to hear this matter for only a couple of hours," Justice Kaul said.

However, when SG Mehta persisted that he will argue the matter on both the pointers, the Court said, "Very unlikely, but you can try".

Justice Kaul added that bail orders are not in the nature of final adjudicatory proceedings and that a final call has to be taken on whether bail should be granted or not.

During the course of proceedings, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Devangana and Natasha, submitted that he wants to file the 20,000-page chargesheet that has been filed in the conspiracy case and sought permission to submit it in a pen drive so that he can refer to it while arguing the case.

The division bench allowed the same and adjourned the matter for four weeks at the request of Sibal which wasn't opposed by SG Mehta.

In an earlier hearing, the apex court had declined to stay the High Court order as sought by the Delhi Police in their Special Leave Petition (SLP) but had said that the interpretation of UAPA should be looked into.

The bench observed that one is the issue of bail and the other is that in a bail proceeding, lots of observations have been made. Mehta said that this is not a political matter. At this, Justice Kaul observed, "Don't make me lose my patience. Am I precluded from asking any question? You are making us say all this. You are not letting me speak. I am trying to segregate the case.

The bench told Mehta, Please don't presume that we are against you. We only want to segregate the issue.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, who also appeared for the police, said the issue is regarding the applicability of section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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