Activist Sharjeel Imam’s Bail Plea Rejected By Delhi Court

Activist Sharjeel Imam's Bail Plea Rejected By Delhi Court

The court directed to continue Sharjeel Imam’s custody. (File)

New Delhi:

A court here on Saturday dismissed the plea of student activist Sharjeel Imam seeking bail because he had been in custody for the last four years, which was more than half of the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence.

The court directed to continue Sharjeel Imam’s custody, saying the present case was “different” from other cases because of the nature of allegations against Sharjeel Imam and his “disruptive activities.” Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai was hearing Sharjeel Imam’s plea seeking bail under 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), saying he was in custody since January 28, 2020, while the maximum sentence for the offence under Section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is seven years if convicted.

According to CrPC Section 436-A, a person can be released from custody if he has spent more than half of the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence.

The court, however, underlined that according to the provision, an accused’s custody could be extended for a further period in “exceptional circumstances” after hearing the prosecution’s case.

“Keeping in view the alleged acts of the applicant (Sharjeel Imam), the court is of the view that the facts in the case in hand are not normal and different than the facts which in any other case could be,” the court said.

“Considering the allegations against the applicant and his disruptive activities, the court deems it appropriate not to consider the relief as prayed for and to continue his custody,” it added.

Noting the allegations against Sharjeel Imam in the chargesheet, the court said he delivered various speeches in Delhi, Aligarh, Asansol and Chakband, which incited people and ultimately triggered the communal riots in different parts of Delhi.

It said, “The contents of the speeches clearly show that the applicant incited the public to do chakka jams and block the cities. Particularly, in the speech dated January 16, 2020, as delivered at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the applicant said that if a particular number of people are organised, the North-East part of the country can be permanently or temporarily cut,” Sharjeel Imam also created a WhatsApp group, ‘Muslim students of JNU’, to raise voice against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens, besides drafting and distributing pamphlets to instigate the members of a particular community against CAA/NRC, the court said.

The court said although Sharjeel Imam did not ask anybody to pick the weapons and kill the people, his speeches and activities mobilised the public which disrupted the city and might have been the main reason for the outbreak of riots.

“Further, through inflammatory speeches and social media, the applicant skillfully manipulated the real facts and incited the public to create havoc in the city. Further, the words used by the applicant in his different speeches were so powerful that they captured the minds of the people of a particular community and incited them to take part in disruptive activities which finally resulted in the riots,” it said.

In 2022, the trial court had framed charges against Sharjeel Imam under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity), 153B (imputations prejudicial to national integration), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of IPC and Section 13 (Punishment for Unlawful Activities) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Noting the facts of the case, the court observed, “Although the court cannot take into consideration section 124A IPC but if the acts and actions of the applicant are considered, they can be termed as seditious in a normal dictionary meaning .”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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