HC grants bail to 30 arrested for rioting during 2021 protest

Mumbai The Bombay high court on Friday granted bail to 30 individuals who were arrested in connection with the riots that took place in Malegaon in November 2021 which left seven police personnel injured.

While granting bail, the court accepted their contention that there were no antecedents of the arrested individuals nor was the violence premeditated. The court held that as some of the 30 persons had already been in jail for 11 months and no purpose would be served by continuing their detention, granted them bail.

The violence had broken out in Malegaon during the rally against the Tripura violence last year.

Single judge bench Justice P D Naik heard the 30 bail applications of the individuals who were represented by advocates N R Bubna, Mahendra Sadhyanshiv and Veerdhaval Deshmukh. On November 12, 2021 rallies organised in Malegaon, Amravati and Nanded to protest against communal violence that had taken place in Tripura in October 2021.

The bench was informed that there were thousands of people who were part of the rallies and incidents of stone pelting occurred when the police tried to disperse the protestors.

The bench was informed that after seven police personnel, including three officers and four social activists, were grievously injured, a case was registered against the rioters and four persons had been booked. The bench was told that the incident was not premeditated.

However, three months later based on the statements of witnesses, some of the applicants were booked and arrested. The advocates argued that the police had no evidence to incriminate the individuals and the injury to the police personnel could have been caused by stones pelted by anyone of the protestors, hence singling out the applicants merely for being part of the rally was not justified.

The bench was also told that as some of individuals, who were booked had secured anticipatory bail, while some who were arrested had been in jail for 11 months and investigation had been completed, hence no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping them in jail.

Additional public prosecutor P N Dabholkar however opposed the applications and stated that the injury to the police personnel was serious and the applicants had played a role in inciting the protestors hence they should not be granted bail.

After hearing the submissions, the bench took note of the fact that the investigation had not pointed out any specific act to the applicants and as they had already been in jail. No purpose would be served for keeping them in jail and hence granted them bail with strict conditions.

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