School Burnt in Delhi Riots, Arrested Owner Granted 4 Weeks to File Reply

A Delhi Trial Court, on June 20, 2020 had granted bail to Faisal Farooq for want of prima facie evidence of his involvement in Delhi Riots Case. Despite being granted bail on 20/06/20, Farooq’s trial court order was put on hold by the Delhi High Court. The respondent, an owner of Rajdhani Public School, was among eight people arrested in case of rioting on February 24, 2020. Now, Delhi High Court has afforded him 4 weeks time to submit his reply to the plea of Delhi Police, which is contesting the aforementioned order.

The Anti-CAA Movement

The government passed legislation easing the way for non-Muslim minorities n the neighbouring countries to gain Indian citizenship. These included neighboring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Combined with opposition to a proposed NRC, many Indians feared that the law will discriminate against minority Muslims. Hence, it shall chip away at India’s secular constitution. The protests rocked India since Dec. 11, 2020 when the government passed the legislation.

Arrest of Farooq Faisal

The Police arrested Farooq, an owner of two schools in the capital on February 24,2020. Delhi Police alleged his participation in the Northeastern Delhi Riots, for rioting outside a school in Shiv Vihar Area. Moreover, the police charge sheet accused Farooq of instructing a mob to vandalize and set fire to the adjacent DRP Convent School, two parking lots, and a sweet shop; where a man had died. The Delhi Police claimed that the respondent also had “links with prominent members of PFI, Pinjra Tod, Jamia Coordination Committee, Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz, and some other fundamental Muslim clerics.”

Trial Court Order

The court said that there was no material in the charge sheet to substantiate the allegations of terror links or terror funding against the accused. Citing it as a “case of bald allegations”; the Court held that there was no substantial evidence to prove the presence of the respondent at the site of crime. Furthermore, contradictions in the statements on eyewitnesses and lack of CCTV footage proved of no help in making a case against the respondent. The Court also took cognizance of the calls made by the respondent himself, informing police of the damage. The IO didn’t collect the PCR forms of the same. Therefore, the court while granting bail, also noted, “There is hardly any material to substantiate the allegation of terror funding.”

High Court Order

Challenging the trial court order, Delhi Police had moved the HC through its counsel. It contested that the ASJ incorrectly recorded the absence of respondent in the CCTV footage. In reply, the Delhi High Court ordered the stay on Farooq’s bail, for the matter’s hearing on June 22, 2020. Yesterday, the counsel for Farooq asserted his wish to file a detailed reply to contest Delhi Police’s plea. And that, however, he needed time for the same. To this, the single judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait granted 4 weeks to the respondent to file his reply.