The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on student-activist Gulfisha Fatima’s habeas corpus plea, seeking release in a Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case relating to the “larger conspiracy” that led to the riots in the national Capital in February last year, reported The Indian Express. A Habeas Corpus plea is a writ used to challenge the unlawful detention or imprisonment of a person.
Citing a large number of cases, a bench of Justices Navin Chawla and Asha Menon adjourned the hearing to July 5.
In the last hearing, the Delhi Police had opposed Fatima’s petition, saying that it was not maintainable. The police had said that the plea was a “blatant abuse of the process of law and deserves to be dismissed with cost”.
The High Court had then directed Fatima’s counsel to file a reply to the police’s response and listed the matter for hearing on June 18.
Fatima was arrested for participating in the Jaffrabad protest on April 9 last year, and charged under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code. She was granted bail under this particular first information report on May 13, 2020.
She was also granted bail in another case related to the Delhi riots in November. However, she remained in judicial custody as she was charged under the UAPA in what is known as the Delhi riots conspiracy case.
In its over 17,000-page chargesheet, the police had listed 747 witnesses and of them, 51 have recorded their statements before the magistrate. The Delhi Police Special Cell has claimed that suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain, former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi planned to carry out “massive violence” in the national Capital.
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.