‘Change in circumstances’: SC allows Umar Khalid to withdraw bail petition

The activist’s petition has barely been heard since May last year.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Umar Khalid.

A week after the Supreme Court postponed another hearing on his bail petition, jailed activist Umar Khalid has now requested to withdraw his plea. The court allowed the request as his lawyers pointed to a “change in circumstances” on Wednesday. 

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Khalid, also said they will try their luck in the trial court afresh due to the changed circumstances.

The former JNU scholar has been incarcerated for over three years. He was arrested in September 2020 on charges under the UAPA and for criminal conspiracy in the Delhi riots case. After being denied bail by a Karkardooma court in March 2022 and the Delhi High Court in October 2022, he approached the Supreme Court on April 6, 2023.

A court in December 2022 discharged Khalid in matters involving stone pelting, but he has remained behind bars in the UAPA case.

On May 18 last year, when the matter came up in the Supreme Court for the first time, a bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli issued notice to the Delhi Police over the bail petition. But after that, the matter has been barely heard. 

In the 10 months since he filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, his bail plea has been adjourned 14 times. Of these 14 adjournments, at least four were requested by Khalid’s counsel, including one joint request with the Delhi police. The top court postponed the hearings at least six times. Additionally, at least two hearings were deferred because of a logistical issue and another adjournment was sought by the Delhi police. 

But what reasons were given before to adjourn Khalid’s petition? Here’s a timeline. And if you like our work, help us tell more stories. Subscribe today.


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