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No exception for pregnant inmate: Delhi Police to HC on Safoora bail

No exception for pregnant inmate: Delhi Police to HC on Safoora bail

The Delhi Police while opposing the bail application filed by Jamia Coordination Committee member Safoora Zargar has claimed that "there is no exception carved out for a pregnant inmate, who is accused of such a heinous crime."

"There is no exception carved out for a pregnant inmate, who is accused of such heinous crime, to be released on bail merely because of their pregnancy. To the contrary the law provides for adequate safeguards and medical attention during their custody in jail," a status report filed by the Delhi Police before a single judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice Rajiv Shakdher read.

"It is extremely crucial to note here that accused (Safoora) has been lodged in a separate cell, all alone, and therefore, the chance of her contacting Covid from any other person does not arise. In fact more care and caution are being practiced in jail so far as social distancing norms are concerned than would be available to her outside the jail premises," the police said adding that till date 39 deliveries have taken place in Delhi prisons in last 10 years.

The status report was submitted in response to the bail application filed by Zargar, M Phil student of Jamia Millia Islamia University, who is more than four months pregnant.

In its status report, the police mentioned that Covid warriors are appointed in every ward that checks the availability of water, soap and sanitiser and sanitisation and cleanliness in the ward thrice a day. They also maintain a diary which is checked by the SCJ itself.

"The cell of appellant/accused is properly cleaned and sanitised twice a day. Soap and other essentials are also provided to her on regular basis. Outside every ward, including hers', there is sanitiser dispenser and wash basins, where inmate can wash and sanitise their hands before the entering the wards," the police said.

While the matter was being heard through video conferencing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Delhi Police, sought a day's time to take instructions on the issue and said it will be in "larger interest" if he is given indulgence.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi too joined him and submitted that they are ready with the arguments on merits but they do not intend to proceed on merits at this stage.

Opposing their submissions advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan representing the petitioner submitted that her client 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.

Upon hearing arguments from both the sides, the bench allowed the request of S-G's submissions and posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.

In its status report, Delhi Police has also submitted that Safoora was a part of the conspiratorial design to not only cause disaffection but also the use of any means to cause death and injury to persons. "The accused (Safoora) was not only disposed towards creating turmoil to severely undermine public order and imperil national security but erode and frustrate the civil compact which holds our polity together," the status report said.

Safoora was arrested by the Delhi Police's Special Cell and is accused of hatching a conspiracy to incite communal riots in the national capital's northeast area. The trial court had dismissed the bail plea filed by her saying that it found "no merit" in her petition.

"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," Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana had said while dismissing her bail.

The court had also stated, "if there is a prima facie evidence of conspiracy, the evidence of acts and statements made by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the common object is admissible against all..even if no direct evidence of violence is attributable to the applicant/accused, she cannot shy away from her liability under the provisions of the UAPA."

The case relates to the anti-CAA protests in the Jaffrabad area where the agitators, majority of whom were women, had begun protests against the amended Act last year.

Violence had later broken out between the protesters and CAA supporters this year in which at least 53 people including IB official Ankit Sharma and Head Constable Rattan Lal were killed..