The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the Delhi Police’s reply to a bail application moved by activist Umar Khalid in a case pertaining to an alleged larger conspiracy behind the February 2020 riots in the national capital, reported Live Law.

Khalid had moved the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court denied him bail in the case in October last year.

The case against Khalid pertains to clashes that had broken out from February 23 to February 26, 2020, between supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it in North East Delhi, leaving 53 dead and hundreds injured. Most of those killed were Muslims.

The Delhi Police claim the violence was part of a larger conspiracy to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and was hatched by those who organised the protests against the amended Citizenship Act.

Khalid was arrested by the Delhi Police based on these conspiracy charges on September 13, 2020. He was booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Property Act.

On Thursday, the division bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought the response of the Delhi Police and posted the matter after the Supreme Court’s summer vacation.

The court allowed Khalid to move a vacation bench for an urgent hearing. However his counsel, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said that the matter could be heard after the summer vacation, reported Bar and Bench. The summer vacation for the Supreme Court will begin from May 22 and end on July 2.

The Delhi High Court order

On October 18, the Delhi High Court rejected Khalid’s bail application as it noted that the allegations against him were prima facie true and so Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act prevents granting him bail.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar had said that Khalid’s name found recurring mention from the “beginning of the conspiracy” till the riots.

The High Court had also noted that he was a member of a WhatsApp group comprising Muslim students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and that he took part in protest meets at Jantar Mantar, Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur and Jaffrabad areas of Delhi.

The bench also referred to the phrases “Inquilabli Salam [revolutionary salute]” and “Krantikari Istiqbal [revolutionary welcome]” allegedly used by Khalid. The High Court said that it was not impressed with the argument that these slogans were only meant as greetings and expressions against an unjust law.