Sharjeel Imam moves Delhi court for interim bail in sedition case

Sharjeel Imam, a student and a former co-organiser of a sit-in protest against a new citizenship law. File

Sharjeel Imam, a student and a former co-organiser of a sit-in protest against a new citizenship law. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

JNU scholar and anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam on Thursday moved an application for interim bail in a sedition case registered against him for anti-Citizenship Amendment Act speeches he had delivered in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and the Jamia Nagar area in Delhi, citing the Supreme Court’s directions to keep all proceedings in sedition (Section 124-A of IPC) cases in abeyance.

This comes a day after the Delhi High Court on Thursday granted Mr. Imam the liberty to approach the trial court with his plea.

Mr. Imam’s lawyer, advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, said that the interim bail application had been filed before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of the Karkardooma Court complex. The interim bail application has been filed in FIR number 22/2020, which was registered by the Crime Branch under sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A, 153-B, and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA charges added later).

Significantly, a previous bail application, in this case, was dismissed by the trial court, following which an appeal was filed in the Delhi High Court. During the pendency of the appeal in the High Court, the Supreme Court ordered that all pending sedition cases be kept in abeyance.

Citing this apex court order, Mr. Imam has now sought interim bail in the case, pending final disposal of the regular bail application.

Mr. Imam’s application states that his initial bail plea was dismissed by the 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 application also argued that Mr. Imam meets the “triple test” for bail. It said that the prosecution has never made the case that he is a flight risk or that he might influence witnesses or tamper with evidence.

It added that Mr. Imam had now been in jail in this case for nearly 28 months since his arrest on January 28, 2020.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 3:18:10 pm |