The Delhi High Court Friday asked the police to respond to a plea by former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, arrested in connection with the north-east Delhi riots last year, seeking to set aside UAPA provisions relating to terror activities invoked against him in the charge sheet. Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and Delhi Police on the petition which has also challenged grant of sanction to prosecute him in the case lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The court said a reply affidavit/ status report be filed by the authorities within four weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on September 28.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Hussain, submitted that although the provisions relating to terrorist activities have been invoked against him in the charge sheet, there is nothing to show that his act was that of a terrorist. “Mere road blocks, chakka jam and expression of dissent has been taken as terrorist activities,” he contended.
Hussain has sought to set aside UAPA provisions including sections 13 (punishment for unlawful activities), 15 (terrorist act), 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy) invoked in the charge sheet filed by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.
The charge sheet in the UAPA case relates to an alleged larger conspiracy that led to the north-east Delhi riots during the anti-CAA protests.
Special Public Prosecutor Amit Mahajan, representing Delhi Police and the Centre, said the trial court had already taken cognisance of the charge sheet in September last year.
He said the accused has challenged the sanction granted by the authorities to prosecute him on merits, which should have been filed before the trial court.
Hussain has been facing prosecution in various cases lodged by Delhi Police in connection with the last year’s riots, including for the alleged offences of attempt to murder and rioting under the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 700 injured.