New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed the Tihar jail superintendent to produce Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, who is undergoing a life sentence in a terror funding case, through video conference (VC) on the next date of hearing.
Photo Credit : IANS
A division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anish Dayal allowed the urgent application modifying its May 29 order issuing production warrants when it heard the National Investigation Agency’s plea seeking his death penalty, challenging trial court’s order, in the terror funding case on August 9.
Citing an order issued by the President of India last year, Delhi government’s Standing Counsel Sanjay Lao, appearing for the jail authorities, said that Malik is a threat to the society and thus, he shall not be moved out of jail or taken out from Delhi till one year or completion of his trial.
On July 21, the Supreme Court was stunned to see Malik before it as he appeared for an appeal filed by the CBI against a special Jammu court order calling for his physical appearance for trial in kidnapping and murder cases against him.
Lao also apprised the court of the abovementioned event.
Taking note of the order issued by the President of India, the court said: “In that view of the matter, the order dated May 29, 2023, is necessarily modified to the extent that the jail superintendent is directed to produce Yasin Malik through VC alone on August 09 and not in person. No further directions are necessary to be passed in the application. The application is allowed and disposed of accordingly.”
The jail authority had sought modification of the high court’s order directing personal presence of Malik during the hearing, saying that the convict is marked as a “very high risk” prisoner, hence he should be allowed to join the proceedings through VC.
“… it is submitted that the Respondent/Convict Yasin Malik has been lodged in the Tihar Jail, New Delhi under the category of very high risk prisoners and thus, the present Application is in relation to a heavy security issue. Therefore, it is imperative that the Respondent/Convict Yasin Malik is not physically produced before this Hon’ble Court in order to maintain public order and safety,” the application said.
On July 21, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Surya Kant recused itself from hearing the case and deferred it by four weeks.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had taken issue with Malik’s appearance before the top court, saying that the procedure is that the Registrar of the court needs to approve of such appearances.
He expressed sharp disapproval of the jail officials present in the court for allowing Malik, and apprised the bench that he cannot be brought out of jail since Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code applies to him.
The SG added that the Central government will be taking necessary steps to ensure that Malik is not let out of jail again, and said that it is a heavy security issue.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, who appeared for the CBI, said that Malik was brought out of jail callously by the jail authorities upon misinterpretation of the top court’s order.
The next day, Delhi prison authorities suspended four officers in Malik’s security lapse case, an official had told.
Last year in May, Malik — who was pleaded guilty — was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special NIA court in a terror funding case, and was convicted of offences under Sections 120B, 121, 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 13 and 15 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) read with 120B of the IPC besides Sections 17, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of UAPA.