The Delhi High Court has directed that arrests in connection with the recent riots in the national capital, shall be done in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines related to arrest and detention.
The direction was issued by a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh which also issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government and police seeking their stand on a plea alleging that arrests in connection with the riots were being made during the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea, by an organisation of Islamic scholars called Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, has contended that when the apex court had said there was a need to decongest jails in wake of coronavirus, the police was arresting people “on the pretext of investigation of offences related to the Delhi riots” earlier this year.
The petition, filed through advocate Mohd Taiyab Khan, also contended that if left unchecked, the action of Delhi Police would “frustrate” the top court’s order to decongest jails.
The Centre, during the hearing conducted via video conferencing, told the bench that all the arrests made so far and those which would be made in future, shall be strictly in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.
“Directed accordingly,” the court said on Monday after noting the Centre’s submission and listed the matter for further hearing on June 24.
The bench also said that all the individuals who according to the petition have been arrested so far, “are at liberty to institute appropriate proceedings in accordance with law, including seeking regular bail..”.
The petitioner organisation has claimed in its plea that police “unilaterally and arbitrarily” arrested persons from their homes during lockdown without informing their families the reasons for arrest.
The petition has sought that police officials be restrained from picking up or arresting persons in connection with the 2020 Delhi riots on the pretext of investigation and sending them to jail during the lockdown period.
It has also sought that the investigation into the riots be put on hold till another plea moved by the organisation seeking an SIT probe into the violence is decided by the high court.
The plea also seeks departmental action and contempt proceedings against concerned police officials who allegedly violated the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court regarding arrest and detention of accused persons.