Reading down UAPA may have pan-India ramifications: SC; notice to 3 activists given bail by HC

Reading down of anti-terror law is an important issue and may have pan-India ramifications, the Supreme Court said on Friday and sought responses from three student activists granted bail by the Delhi High Court in north-east Delhi riots case.

The high court judgements will “not to be treated as precedent by any Court” to give similar reliefs, the apex court said while hearing Delhi Police appeal against the bail.

A vacation bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian made it clear however that the bails granted to these student activists will not be affected for the time-being.

Taking note of Solicitor Generak Tushar Mehta’s submission that the entire anti-terror law, UAPA, has been turned upside down by the Delhi High Court while granting bail to these activists, the bench said what is troubling it was that 100 pages of the verdict have been rendered while granting bail and judgement discussed the entire law.

The High Court had on June 15 granted bail to JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha saying that in an anxiety to suppress dissent the State has blurred the line between right to protest and terrorist activity and if such a mindset gains traction, it would be a “sad day for democracy”.

The high court, in three separate judgments, set aside the trial court’s orders denying bail to student activists and allowed their appeals by admitting them to regular bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each along with two sureties of the like amount.