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India's foundations stand on surer footing, can't be shaken by college students' protests: Delhi HC

ANI | Updated: Jun 21, 2021 13:38 IST

New Delhi [India], June 16 (ANI): The foundations of India stand on surer footing than to be likely shaken by a protest organised by a tribe of college students or others, said Delhi High Court on Tuesday while granting bail to Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha.
"Having given our anxious consideration to this aspect of 'likelihood' of threat and terror, we are of the view that the foundations of our nation stand on surer footing than to be likely to be shaken by a protest, however vicious, organised by a tribe of college students or other persons, operating as a coordination committee from the confines of a University situate in the heart of Delhi," the court said.
"The state is at pains to argue that Section 15 contemplates not only an act 'with intent to threaten' the foundations of a nation but also any act 'likely to threaten' such foundations," the court said, and further stressed that not only is the 'intent to strike terror' outlawed under Section 15 but also an act that is "likely to strike terror".
"The point sought to be made is that even the likelihood that the appellant's acts or omissions may threaten the nation is an offence within the meaning of sections 15 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)," the court noted.
It also opined that foisting "extremely grave and serious" penal provisions engrafted in sections 15, 17 and 18 of UAPA frivolously upon people would undermine the intent and purpose of the Parliament in enacting a law that is meant to address threats to the very existence of the country.
"Wanton use of serious penal provisions would only trivialise them. Whatever other offence(s) the appellant may or may not have committed, at least on a prima facie view, the State has been unable to persuade us that the accusations against the appellant show commission of offences under sections 15, 17 or 18 UAPA," the court said.
The High Court also set aside a trial court order dated October 26, which denied bail to Tanha and admitted him to regular bail with various conditions.
In three separate orders, the Delhi High Court has granted bail to Pinjra tod activists Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha. All of them were arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in connection with Northeast Delhi violence cases.
Kalita and Pinjra tod activist Narwal were arrested in the subject FIR on May 29, 2020 and Tanha was arrested on May 19, 2020. (ANI)