A Delhi court on Thursday issued a notice to the director general (prisons) of Delhi Police after jailed activist Umar Khalid was produced for hearing in handcuffs despite two orders against doing so.
In a plea, Khalid had contended that it was illegal to produce him in handcuffs and had sought a departmental inquiry on why Delhi Police did so.
“...An under-trial remains in the custody of the court throughout the proceedings and any step of fetters/handcuff, which are extreme steps can only be taken after a Court allows the same...,” Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said in his order on the plea. “This court has passed no such orders for this accused or, for that matter, any accused in this case”
Rawat also directed the director general (prisons) to tell the court if any such order had been passed by the police. This was after Khalid’s lawyers had been told that police officials produced him in handcuffs according to an order passed on April 7.
However, his lawyers noted that an order by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the Patiala House Court Pankaj Sharma on January 17 had stated that Khalid need not be produced with fetters or handcuffs. The court had clarified that no order directing the police to produce him with handcuffs could be located.
In June, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav had also dismissed a petition by the police seeking to produce Khalid in handcuffs. The order had pointed out that the activist was neither convicted in any case before nor was he a gangster.
Khalid has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act along with two students of the city’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar in connection with the Delhi violence case.
In their first information report, the police alleged that Khalid made provocative speeches at two protest sites and had appealed to the people of Delhi to hold demonstrations in the streets during former United States President Donald Trump’s visit to India. The Delhi violence had coincided with Trump’s visit.
Khalid’s aimed to spread “propaganda at the global level” about how religious minorities in India were being mistreated, the FIR stated.
Communal violence had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.