A Delhi court on Thursday ordered immediate release of student activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Iqbal Tanha who were accused in the north- east Delhi riots 'conspiracy' case.
Earlier in the day, the students had moved the Delhi High Court seeking forthwith release from jail saying that they had not been released even after 36 hours of obtaining a bail order.
Hearing the matter, the High Court asked the trial court to decide on the matter with "promptitude" and "expedition".
Following this, the trial court ordered their immediate release.
This order has come two days after the Delhi High Court granted bail to them.
After getting bail, the three student activists were not released from the jail on time citing lack of verification details of their addresses and sureties.
The trio is accused of being the ''masterminds'' of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and and more than 200 injured.
Pulling up the police for delay in verification of addresses and sureties, Additional Sessions Judge Revinder Bedi said, “I would say that this by itself cannot be a plausible reason for the accused to be kept imprisoned till the time such reports are filed.”
Taking note of the undertaking given by the counsel of the accused that their client will not leave the jurisdiction of the national capital, the court sent the warrant to the Superintendent of the Tihar Jail for their immediate release.
On June 16, Delhi Police had moved an application seeking more time from the court to verify their addresses, sureties and authenticity of the Aadhaar cards before releasing them on bail.
Dismissing the police application, the judge directed them to verify the addresses of the accused in Delhi and submit the report on Thursday itself by 5 PM.
Report on verification of their permanent address in other states has been called on June 23 by the court.
Furthermore, the court cited the high court's observation which stated that once the incarcerated have been ordered to be released on bail and furnished the bail bond with sureties, they ought not to remain behind bars "even for a minute".
“It was observed that the State should ensure the infrastructure necessary for such verification process within minimum possible time and there cannot be any reason, sufficient enough to deny such a person his liberty,” the judge stated.
After securing bail, the activists had moved the trial court seeking immediate release from jail.
When the trial court deferred the order on their plea for Thursday, they moved the Delhi High Court, which ordered the lower court to proceed with the issue with “promptitude and expedition”.
The three student activists were arrested in May 2020 and are accused of being the ''masterminds'' of the February 2020 violence, which had left 53 people dead and more than 200 injured.
The high court while granting them bail on June 15 had observed that “in an anxiety to suppress dissent the State has blurred the line between right to protest and terrorist activity” and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a "sad day for democracy".
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court judgements granting them bail in the case.
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