New Delhi: The Delhi Police has sought permission to handcuff Delhi riots accused Umar Khalid and Khalid Saifi while producing them before trial courts for hearings.
In an application filed in a Karkardooma court on 7 April, the lock-up in-charge of that court has claimed that both Khalid and Saifi are high-risk prisoners and need to be in “handcuffs and fetters in both hands from back side” during production and transportation.
The application, which was accessed by ThePrint, further states that there are concerns that both the undertrials may escape during production and handcuffing them will prevent “any untoward incident in future as well as to maintain discipline of law and order”.
The matter is likely to be heard by Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav Thursday.
Khalid, former JNU student, is named as an accused in two cases related to the riots that broke out in February 2020 in the northeast part of the national capital.
In the first FIR registered at the Khajuri Khas Police Station, Khalid is accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including promoting enmity between different groups. The second case, which is being probed by the Special Cell wing of Delhi Police, pertains to a larger conspiracy allegedly hatched to execute the riots.
Saifi, an activist, is also named in both the cases. He has also been accused of attempt to murder in an FIR lodged at the Jagat Puri Police Station.
At present, both Khalid and Saifi are in jail.
Not the first such application against Umar Khalid
This is not the first time such an application has been moved against Khalid.
On 7 April, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma approved a similar application against Khalid that was filed by the lock-up in-charge of Patiala court.
The application had stated that Khalid is a “desperate criminal” and may try to execute a plan to escape custody during his production.
“Considering the facts and nature of the application, accused Umar Khalid be produced in handcuff while producing in court from lock-up (sic),” read the order by the CMM, which was accessed by ThePrint.
In the latest application before ASJ Yadav, the police mentioned the escape of an alleged notorious gangster Kuldeep Mann from police custody last month and cited the case as a reason to handcuff and fetter Khalid and Saifi.
The application states Mann took advantage of not being in a handcuff. The gangster was killed in a police encounter three days after he escaped.
“Now, it has been decided by senior police officers of Delhi Police to move an application in respect of high-risk prisoners to be produced in handcuffs in both hands and back side, so that the incident of escaping of high-risk prisoners from the custody of DAP (Delhi Armed Police) guards can be prevented in future,” the application reads.
ThePrint reached Khalid’s lawyer Trideep Pais on the matter but he refused to comment.
Handcuffing disallowed by SC orders, police must have strong reason for request
While handcuffing prisoners is disallowed, according to various Supreme Court judgments, the police or jail authorities can seek permission for the same. But the orders note that the police should have a well-grounded basis for believing that an accused is likely to escape from custody.
High-risk prisoners — which the Delhi Police application claims Khalid and Saifi are — refer to those who are either a threat to society or are themselves under threat.
Such prisoners are kept under round the clock security and lodged in special cells in jail. Their food is checked before it is served to them and whenever they are produced before the court, three policemen accompany one undertrial.
According to police sources, a total of 41 applications on handcuffing accused were moved by the third battalion of Delhi Police, which accompanies undertrials to court while they are in judicial custody.
Sixteen of such applications were allowed while 19 were declined. Six are still pending before various courts.
(Edited by Rachel John)