Sharjeel Imam cites SC’s sedition order, moves Delhi HC for interim bail

Sharjeel Imam

Sharjeel Imam | Photo Credit: File Photo

JNU student leader Sharjeel Imam has moved the Delhi High Court seeking interim bail in the two sedition cases registered against him for speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, citing the Supreme Court's order on keeping all pending sedition cases in abeyance.

The first application has been moved in FIR number 22/2020 (Crime Branch), registered under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (added later) in addition to Section 124 A (Sedition), 153 A, 153 B, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code.

The second application has been moved in FIR number 242/2019 (PS New Friends Colony), which was registered under Sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 333, 307, 308, 427, 435, 323, 341, and 120B/34 of the IP, with Sections 124 A and 153 A added later. Both applications were filed on May 12, a day after a Supreme Court order stating that all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to charges framed under Section 124A of the IPC be kept in abeyance.

The concerned trial courts have already denied bail to Mr. Imam in both these cases previously and both lower court orders have already been appealed. The current applications in the Delhi High Court have been filed in the main challenges to the trial court orders, seeking that Mr. Imam be granted interim bail pending the final disposal of the pleas for regular bail.

In the FIR that does not have UAPA charges, Mr. Imam argued that the dismissal of bail was solely based on the case of the prosecution pertaining to Section 124 A. The application says that the impugned trial court order admitted that other than Sections 124 A and 153 A of the IPC, the "prosecution has absolutely no case against the petitioner (Sharjeel Imam)".

In the other FIR where UAPA charges have been added, Mr. Imam’s application states that his initial bail plea was dismissed by a lower court on the grounds that a separate order had already framed the sedition charge against him. And in view of the Supreme Court’s order, “observations surrounding the offence under section 124 A IPC cannot be taken into consideration... pending the final outcome of the Constitutional challenges to the section”.

Thus, without Section 124 A, the prosecution's case stands "significantly diluted and improves his case for securing bail", the application submitted.

The applications added that Mr. Imam had been in jail for nearly 28 months for the UAPA FIR and nearly 27 months in the other FIR. They also argued that the accused meets the triple test for bail and that the prosecution had never contended that he would be a flight risk or that he would tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.

Mr. Imam's counsel, Tanveer Ahmed Mir said that the applications are listed for hearing on Tuesday, May 17.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 1:49:45 am |