No immediate Supreme Court relief for anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam


Anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) activist Sharjeel Imam on Tuesday failed to get any immediate relief from the Supreme Court despite arguing that several First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against him in different States were politically coloured and a ruse to silence his right to dissent.

Appearing before a three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, senior advocate Siddharth Dave, for Mr. Imam, urged the court to club the cases against his client and transfer them to Delhi.

Watch | Who is Sharjeel Imam and why is he charged with sedition?

Mr. Dave referred to how the top court had intervened with alacrity in the case of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. Mr. Goswami too had faced multiple FIRs for making communal comments on his show. The Supreme Court had, in a recent judgment, quashed all the FIRs except the one that was transferred from Nagpur to Mumbai.

Mr. Dave sought parity for Mr. Imam, who is lodged in a Guwahati jail. However, the Bench said the petition filed by Mr. Imam seemed to be “politically motivated”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that several States such as Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh needed to be heard first before any decision was taken on the plea for clubbing the FIRs. He said the FIRs registered in Mr. Goswami’s case were carbon copies of each other. They were identical. In Mr. Imam’s case, the FIRs were varied and the facts and circumstances differed in each of them. Drawing parity in the cases of both men would be a stretch.


The Bench finally adjourned the hearing for two weeks. It sought replies from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Mr. Imam’s appeal.

Earlier in May, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi government to respond to Mr. Imam’s plea to club the five sedition cases registered against him in different States and to have them investigated by a single agency.

At that time, the court even orally remarked that there was nothing wrong in the registration of an FIR if police had information about a cognisable offence.

Mr. Imam was arrested by the Delhi Police’s crime branch on January 28 from Jehanabad in Bihar for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh. He has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Purported videos of his alleged inflammatory speeches made during protests against the CAA were circulated on social media.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:28:23 PM |

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