New Delhi, May 9: A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the bail application of Shahrukh Pathan, accused in the north-east Delhi riots, stating that the fundamental right to protest against government policies cannot extend to disturbing public order.

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra rejected the bail plea stating that there is video footage that went viral where the accused can be seen pointing a pistol upon police officials and hence he is not inclined to grant bail at this stage, The Hindustan Times reported.

“The right to protest is a fundamental right in a democracy but this right of peaceful protest and open criticism of the government policies does not extend to disturb the public order. ….in the present case, the video footage of the applicant while pointing out pistol upon police officials went viral. Keeping in view the totality of facts and circumstances of the case at this stage, I am not inclined to grant bail to the applicant (Pathan),” the judge said.

The court was hearing the bail application filed through advocate Asghar Khan in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plea had contended that the incident happened at the spur of the moment and that the 23-year-old had no past criminal record. The plea also alleged that there was an unexplained delay of two days in registering the FIR. Khan said that the charge sheet has already been filed in the case and his counsel sought bail stating that his father has to undergo a knee surgery.

However, the court said that the IO has verified from the hospital regarding the knee replacement surgery of Pathan’s father and as per the hospitals’ email, only emergency surgeries are being performed and total knee replacement is not one of them. A fresh date will be given at a later stage when the situation improves in Jalandhar, the hospital said.

Opposing the bail application, the additional public prosecutor told the court that on February 24, several people had gathered illegally and were raising slogans against the amended Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). According to the complaint, the members of the unlawful assembly had bottles, pistols and stones in their hands. In the meantime, Pathan came from behind and fired 3-4 shots at the people around.

The complainant, head constable Deepak Dahiya, requested him (Pathan) not to fire. However, Pathan fired at the head of the constable with the intention to kill. The constable bent down and managed to save himself. When he tried to stop Pathan, he pointed towards the crowd and fired again, according to the complaint.

The court, after, hearing the arguments from both sides dismissed the plea.

Pathan was arrested on March 3.

Last week, Delhi Police had filed the first charge sheet over the February riots in north-east Delhi, naming three men including Pathan, who was pictured pointing a pistol at a policeman in the Maujpur neighbourhood.

The 350-page charge sheet was filed in the Karkardooma court against Pathan and two others who were arrested by the crime branch’s Narcotics Cell, said a senior police officer, adding that the three remained in jail. According to the charge sheet, Pathan was the first person to be formally arrested in connection with the riots after being booked by the Jafrabad police. He was initially booked for attempt to murder, assault on a public servant, disobedience of an order passed by a government servant and under the Arms Act.

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