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Delhi HC dismisses plea seeking release of woman arrested for protest during Delhi violence

ANI | Updated: Jun 22, 2020 19:14 IST

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by a man seeking the release of his sister, who was arrested in connection with a protest during the northeast Delhi violence in February, saying the habeas corpus plea was without merits.
A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar dismissed the habeas corpus petition filed by Aqil Hussain seeking for the production of his sister - Gulfisha Fatima.
The court said that the petition is not maintainable since the Fatima is in judicial custody under orders passed by the additional sessions judge, who was competent to do so.
Hussain had submitted before the court that the sister of the petitioner was arrested by police from Jafrabad on April 9, after which the family was contacted by various persons claiming to be Delhi Police Special Cell officials.
Initially, no details on the charges and the FIR against Gulfisha, the sister of the petitioner, were provided and the only contact between the family and the detainee was through phone calls facilitated by the officials in whose custody she was, the plea said.
She was granted bail by the sessions court in the first FIR on May 13, but she was later detained in another FIR and has not been released, it added.
The petitioner submitted that as the Special Courts empowered to extend the judicial remand custody have not been sitting, the continued detention of Gulfisha Fatima under UAPA is without any authority of law. Consequently, the petitioner sought the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus for the production and release of Fatima.
The court, however, held that UAPA does not state that offences under the said Act can be tried only by a special court and apart from the NIA, and added that the other police establishments are equally competent to investigate cases under the UAPA.
"This position is also clear from Section 6(7) of NIA Act, which clears doubts, if any, by declaring that till the NIA takes over the investigation of the case, it shall be the duty of the officer-in-charge of the police station where the case is registered, to continue to investigate," the bench said.
"Therefore, Section 45 only lays down the restriction of grant of prior sanction by the Central government, or the State government, as the case may be. It does not state that only a special court constituted under the NIA Act would have jurisdiction to try offences under the UAPA," it added.
The court noted that just because the UAPA is one of the enlisted enactments in the schedule to the NIA Act, it does not follow that every offence under the UAPA has necessarily to be investigated by the NIA.
The court made it clear that additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana was competent to deal with the bail application as well as the aspect of remand of Fatima when he passed the orders on the application moved by the state seeking an extension of judicial remand. (ANI)

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