Rights

'Pregnancy No Ground for Bail': Delhi Police Cites Jail Statistics, Opposes Safoora Zargar's Plea

At the Delhi HC, police said 39 deliveries have taken place in Delhi prisons in the last 10 years.

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Monday opposed in the Delhi high court the bail plea of Jamia Milia Islamia student Safoora Zargar. Police cited the fact that 39 deliveries have taken place in Delhi prisons in the last 10 years as proof that Zargar’s pregnancy did not demand that she be given bail.

Zargar had been arrested on April 10, under the stringent anti-terror law, UAPA. The Delhi Police’s Special Cell is investigating her role in the riots in northeast Delhi. The 27-year-old had been active in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The Delhi Police, in its status report filed through Special Cell DCP P.S. Khushwaha, opposing Zargar’s bail plea, said a “clear and cogent case” has been made out against the accused woman and as such she is not entitled for bail for the “grave and serious offences which have been meticulously and surreptitiously planned and executed by her.”

Zargar is 23 weeks pregnant.

Her June 4 bail plea was turned down by Judge Dharmendra Rana who instead of a direct order, said, “When you choose to play with embers, you cannot blame the wind to have carried the spark a bit too far and spread the fire. The acts and inflammatory speeches of the co-conspirators are admissible u/s 10 of the Indian Evidence even against the applicant/accused.”

Also read: Safoora Zargar Denied Bail as Judge Finds Prima Facie Evidence of ‘Conspiracy’

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi urged Justice Rajiv Shakdher to grant them a day’s more time for seeking instructions on the issue, saying it will be in larger interest if they are given indulgence.

The court, which conducted the hearing through video conferencing, allowed the request after Zargar’s counsel said she has no objection to it and listed the matter for Tuesday.

Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Zargar, said the woman is in a delicate state and is in a fairly advanced stage of pregnancy and if the police need time to respond to the plea, she be granted interim bail for the time being.

In the status report filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, the police said Zargar is also being provided with complete care to prevent any COVID-19 infection and she has been lodged in a separate cell and chances of her contracting coronavirus from any other person does not arise.

“There is no exception carved out for pregnant inmate, who is accused of such heinous crime, to be released on bail merely because of pregnancy. To the contrary, the law provides for adequate safeguards and medical attention during their custody in jail,” it said, adding that 39 deliveries have taken place in Delhi prisons in the last 10 years.

The report also indicates that her pregnancy should have acted as a “check” on Zargar. “…the very fact of rearing of life ought to have been a check on activities (by Zargar) which had a potential to cause, and which did in fact cause large-scale destruction of life and properties,” News18 has quoted the report as having said.

“…the health status of the accused (both mental and physical) is satisfactory and normal. Further all medical care and prescribed medication is being provided to her to ensure the well being of the accused and her foetus, as such on this ground also no case for bail has been made out by her,” the police said and prayed for dismissing the bail plea.

The hearing also witnessed exchange of words between Mehta, Lekhi on one side and Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra who objected to the appearance of the two senior law officers on behalf of Delhi Police in the case.

Delhi Police sticks to ‘conspiracy’ angle

In its report, the Delhi Police has said statements of “witnesses and co-accused clearly implicate Zargar as being a leading co-conspirator in commissioning of serious offence of causing large-scale disruption and riots, not only in the national capital but also in other parts of the country.”

Also read: Delhi Police Riot ‘Plot’ Has Trump Present When He Can’t Have Been, Kapil Mishra Absent

“The present case pertains to grave offence against the society and nation. The investigation is at a very crucial juncture, and therefore, considering the sensitivity and the broad nefarious conspectus of present case, it would not be in the interest of justice as well as in public interest to grant bail to the accused at the present stage,” it said.

The report said the motive and the idea behind this conspiracy was to go to any extent possible, “be it a small scuffle with the police during blockage or instigation of riots between two communities or to advocate and execute a secessionist movement in the country by propagating an armed rebellion against the lawfully constituted government of the day.”

It added, “funds were used and supplied to organise the protest sites and fake vouchers were manufactured/forged. Acid bombs, iron roads, swords, nailed sticks, knives, sling shots, stones were used in the Delhi riots which were pre-planned in a systematic and organiser manner.”

It was decided that the “anti-government feeling of Muslims” will be used at an appropriate time to destablise the government, the police claimed, adding that the protests were carried out during the visit of US President Donald Trump to India “to attract international media attention to propagate a narrative that the Government of the day was anti-Muslim,” the report said.

“This sinister and nefarious conspiracy was designed in various levels according to which the facade of a civil disobedience or protest was to be maintained to buckle the government to agree to the illegitimate demands of the accused, it said.

(With PTI inputs)