A Delhi court has said that activist Umar Khalid does not need to produced in court with fetters or handcuffs while hearing a plea moved by his counsels.
In the order on Monday, Patiala House Court Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma said that considering the prevailing circumstances due to Covid-19, Khalid be produced through video conferencing. Once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, it said, Khalid should be presented in court “in routine manner without using handcuffs or fetters.”
The plea was moved by Khalid’s lawyers after it was reported in the media that an order to bring him in handcuffs in the Patiala House Court had been issued on April 7. The court is hearing the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition case from 2016.
Khalid’s lawyer, Trideep Pais, told Scroll.in, “I had earlier learned that an order had been passed directing that Umar Khalid be produced in handcuffs and fetters and had immediately sought to know the details of the direction, and what triggered it.” He added that the court has clarified that no such order could be located and that Khalid should be produced without any handcuffs or fetters.
“I am relieved, and thankful for the court’s clarification,” Pais said.
The court also asked for a copy of the order to be sent to the jail superintendent for compliance.
This is the second time a court has issued an order stating that Khalid does not need not be brought to court with handcuffs.
In April, the Delhi Police had moved a plea to bring Khalid and activist Khalid Saifi in handcuffs. The police had claimed they were “high-risk prisoners”.
But Karkardooma court Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had dismissed this plea in June. The judge had noted that the police’s plea was devoid of merits. The order had pointed out that the two neither had any previous convictions nor were gangsters.
“The applications appear to have been filed in a mechanical manner, without application of mind by the high echelon of Delhi Police and prison authority,” the judge had said.
The order by the Karkardooma court, that is hearing two cases from the Delhi riots, was referred to during the hearing in the Patiala House Court. These are FIR 59/2020 and FIR 101/2020.
Under FIR 59, the controversial Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, sedition, rioting and other sections have been invoked. Under FIR 101, rioting, unlawful assembly, dacoity and other sections have been invoked.