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Judiciary

Delhi HC rejects plea of ISIS terrorist who planned Haridwar Kumbh Mela terror attacks [Read Judgment]

By Shreya Agarwal      10 June, 2024 01:31 PM      0 Comments
Delhi HC rejects plea of ISIS terrorist who planned Haridwar Kumbh Mela terror attacks

NEW DELHI: Noting that the offence of terrorism has far-reaching impact on the society, the Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by an ISIS terrorist who planned terror attacks on Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela to kill a Hindu Mahasabha leader.

The bench held, “In this case, the petitioner had himself pleaded guilty to charges framed under UAPA, for his acts of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Haridwar during Kumbh Mela and plotting to kill a leader of Hindu Mahasabha, primarily with an aim to harm and disrupt communal harmony in the country, and since lenient view has already been taken by the Trial Courts at the stage of sentencing, no further leniency can be granted to the petitioner by allowing concurrent running of sentences awarded to him by the Trial Courts in Greater Bombay and Delhi.”

The ISIS terrorist had filed a plea for concurrent running of sentences.

The Court refused to accept Sayyed's plea that his client being a young, poor and illiterate man had voluntarily pleaded guilty to the charges framed against him by both the courts out of a 'genuine desire to reform himself'.

Hearing convicted terrorist Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed's plea,  Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma took a strict view of the matter and observed, “There is no gainsaying that terrorism threatens not only the national security of the country but also the very fabric of society by targeting innocent civilians and institutions indiscriminately, with an aim to instil fear among the common and innocent citizens of a country."

While rejecting the plea which stated that Sayyed was trying to reform, the Court opined that the courts had already extended the benefit to Sayyed of lesser sentence than life imprisonment, in lieu of his pleading guilty.

This is despite the fact that the maximum sentence for the offences for which Sayyed was convicted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was life imprisonment.

The bench added that the offences committed by Sayyed, under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 18 (conspiracy), 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation), 38 (membership of a terrorist organisation) and 39 (support given to a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act were grave and serious, thus leaving no scope for relief of concurrent running of sentences.

He was awarded a sentence of eight years in January 2022 by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court in Mumbai.

A Delhi Court on the other hand   convicted him for offences under Sections 120B, 17 (raising funds for terrorist acts), 18 (conspiracy) and 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sentenced him for 7 years.

Taking note of the offences for which Sayyed was convicted, Justice Sharma also opined that the same could not be termed to be a part of a “same transaction” as the acts and facts both cases were different.

“Thus, merely because the petitioner has been convicted under similar provisions of IPC [Indian Penal Code] and UAPA in both the cases, the same cannot entitle him to seek concurrent running of the sentence, as the facts of both the cases do not form part of a same transaction,” the Court held.

Sayyed had pleaded concurrent running of sentences on the ground that the Delhi Court was not aware of the fact of the Mumbai Court's conviction and sentencing.

This deprived the Delhi Court of its discretion to determine the manner of running of the sentences - concurrent or subsequent.

The prosecution on the other hand pleaded that there could be no concurrent running of sentences as Sayyed was punished distinctively for offences under UAPA, affecting the sovereignty and security of the country.

Rejecting the plea the Court noted, "these crimes not only have the capacity to sow fear and insecurity among communities but also disrupt social harmony."

"The impact of such terrorist activities on society is profound and far-reaching, as these crimes have the capacity to sow fear and insecurity among communities, as well as disrupt social harmony. They also result in loss of innocent lives, destruction of property, and destabilisation of regions. These impacts are often long-lasting,” it added. 

[Read Judgment]



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