“Strange paradox that applicant is area in charge of Aman Committee”; Delhi High Court declines anticipatory bail to main accused in Jahangirpuri riots on Hanuman Jayanti

Delhi High Court


Delhi High Court: Swarana Kanta Sharma, J. declined anticipatory bail to the accused involved in the Jahangir Puri riots considering his conduct and the material on record against him including the statement of the eye-witness as well as the fact that proceeding under Section 83, Criminal Procedure Code is pending along with the custodial interrogation being pending which will be required to unearth the real reason behind the riots.

The instant application was filed under Section 438 Criminal Procedure Code (‘CrPC') seeking anticipatory bail in FIR registered at Police Station Jahangirpuri, for offences punishable under Sections 147/148/149/186/353/ 332/307/323/427/436/109/120-B/34 of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC').

On 16-04-2022, a commotion erupted in which two communities pelted stones at each other. On 17-04-2022, the Police from Jahangir Puri Police Station came to the house of the petitioner's eldest son and picked him up and subsequently, he was sent to judicial custody, on allegations of being involved in the Jahangir Puri riots. The applicant submitted that the father of the petitioner had expired on 14-04-2022 and according to Muslim rites and customs, Teeja of his late father was performed on 16-04-2022, which started at around 12 noon to 11 p.m. near Jahangir Puri, Delhi. The petitioner's entire family, including his five sons, were involved in these rites.

Counsel for applicant-accused submitted that that the accused was not involved or seen around or was in the vicinity of place where riots/stampede and there is no CCTV footage pertaining to the involvement of the accused/applicant in the stampede. The accused/applicant is not in possession of the house terrace from which the alleged suspicious material was recovered.

The State submitted that proceedings under Section 82, CrPC have been concluded against the applicant/accused and further proceedings under section 83, CrPC are going to be undertaken on the next date of hearing before the learned Trial Court.

The Court noted that from the facts of the case it is evident that the petitioner has not joined the investigation and is purposefully evading arrest as proceedings under section 82, CrPC have been concluded against him and the proceedings under section 83, CrPC are pending. The applicant has not co-operated with the investigating agency.

The Court remarked though on one hand, it is argued that the applicant was in charge of ensuring peace in the locality, on the other hand, his conduct of not co-operating with the investigating agency or even joining investigation despite the fact that suspicious material has been found on the terrace of his house during the Jahangir Puri riots points to the contrary.

Thus, the Court observed that these are grave allegations of acts which taking advantage of fact of eve of festival of one community deeply scars the communal fabric of the society.

The Court thus held that an individual who is not cooperating with the investigation agencies to ascertain whether he partook in such nefarious activities along with the conduct of the applicant and the material on record against him, including the statement of the eye-witness as well as the fact that his custodial interrogation will be required to unearth the real reason behind the riots, prayer for anticipatory bail was declined.

[Sheikh Ishrafil v. State of (NCT) of Delhi, Bail Application No. 2227 of 2022, decided on 17-08-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. B.S. Chaudhary and Ms. Sneh Lata Rana, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

Mr. Manoj Pant, APP for the State with ACP Pradeep Kumar Paliwal, Crime Branch, Rohini Sector 18, Advocates, for the Respondent.

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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