The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Delhi Police to respond to student activist Sharjeel Imam’s plea seeking the dismissal of a supplementary chargesheet that introduced charges of sedition and ‘hate speech’ in a criminal case related to his alleged objectionable speech delivered at Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019.
The challenge to the police’s supplementary chargesheet was regarding the addition of the offences of sedition — which has already been stayed by the Supreme Court — and ‘hate speech’, Mr. Imam’s counsel told the court.
The lawyer said a separate FIR for these offences has already been registered by Delhi Police in relation to two of his speeches during the anti-CAA protests, including the speech in question here.
The FIR was registered based on the violence that took place at JMI and Mata Mandir Marg on December 15, 2019, for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including rioting and attempt to commit culpable homicide, as well as the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the case was handed over to the Inter-State Cell, Crime Branch.
Mr. Imam was arrested on February 17, 2021, based on the disclosure statement of a co-accused who claimed he was instigated to commit the offences after hearing the December 13, 2019 speech by the accused.
In the plea, Mr. Imam said there cannot be multiple criminal proceedings on the same incident against a person and multiple prosecutions launched against him for the same alleged speech are “illegal” and against the Constitution.
On September 30, 2022, he was granted regular bail in the present FIR by the trial court, but he continues to remain in jail on account of his custody in other cases.
The High Court will hear the case again on October 18.