Sharjeel Imam denied interim bail in sedition case

Sharjeel Imam

Sharjeel Imam

A court here on Saturday denied interim bail to former JNU scholar and Delhi riots accused Sharjeel Imam in a sedition case for speeches during the anti-CAA/NRC protests. It said, “There can only be one bail order on the merits of the case, and this court cannot again pass an order on the merits, that too, on an interim bail application.”

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat was hearing an application filed by Mr. Sharjeel, citing the Supreme Court’s order to keep all sedition cases in abeyance. The case in which he sought interim bail was FIR 22/2020, where charges under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 505 of the IPC and Section 13 of the UAPA have been framed against him. 

Denied in January

A previous application for bail in the case was denied by the ASJ’s court in January, saying that the sedition charge had already been framed against him. Following this, the SC’s order on sedition cases came, prompting the scholar to move a fresh plea for interim bail. 

Denying interim bail to Mr. Sharjeel, the court said, “Any bail order passed by a court is a composite order and neither the Ld. Prosecutor nor the Ld. Counsel for accused can dissect or consider it only as regards certain provisions of law.”

The court went on to say that the January order, denying Mr. Sharjeel regular bail, had “considered all the merits of the case” and the applicability of sections under which charges had been framed. 

Mr. Sharjeel’s plea had argued that since sedition cases had been kept in abeyance by the top court, this particular charge could not be considered. He had further argued that other IPC sections in the case carry less sentence and gravity, which should be considered and that Section 13 of the UAPA is not applicable in this case. 

“At this stage, the contention that Section 13 of the UAPA is not made out and must be disregarded is like revisiting or reviewing the orders on charge and bail dated January 24, which is neither permissible nor warranted,” the court said. It added that Mr. Sharjeel’s arguments in this regard are “completely misplaced”, given that the court had already framed charges against him and denied him regular bail, both of which orders have been challenged in the Delhi High Court.

The court added that with respect to the other IPC sections, while gravity of offence is relevant, interim bail applications “can be considered only upon some exigencies or necessities like medical condition and not on the merits of the case as such”.

Furthermore, the court agreed with the prosecution that the Supreme Court’s order on sedition cases does not specifically direct grant of interim bail in such cases.

Possible prejudice

Mr. Sharjeel had also filed an application for a stay on all trial proceedings in the case in light of the SC order and possible prejudice to the accused if trial continues. This application was also dismissed by the court. 

It noted that the top court’s order gave trial courts the liberty to continue adjudication with respect to sections other than sedition “if the court is of the opinion that no prejudice would be caused to the accused”.

 The court found that continuing proceedings against Mr. Sharjeel with respect to other IPC sections in this case would not prejudice the accused.

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Printable version | Sep 9, 2022 10:40:36 am |