Sedition case: Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam

Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam
Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam/ANI
Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam
Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam/ANI

Sedition case: Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam

Sedition case: Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam

Sedition case: Delhi HC grants bail to Sharjeel Imam

New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted statutory bail to Sharjeel Imam in a sedition case for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in the Jamia area and Aligarh Muslim University in 2019.

Division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain granted statutory bail to Sharjeel Imam.He had sought statutory bail on the grounds of the period undergone in custody. He has been in custody since January 2020 in this case. He is also an accused in the larger Conspiracy of Delhi riots case.

On March 24, the High Court issued notice to Delhi Police on his plea challenging trial court order denying him bail in Sedition case.His earlier bail plea was dismissed by the trial court on February 17.This case pertains to alleged inflammatory speeches by Sharjeel Imam in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Area in the year 2019.It was argued that he has been in custody for the last 4 years, which is more than half of the maximum sentence.

Advocate Talib Mustafa and Ahmad Ibrahim appeared for Sharjeel Imam.It was argued that he has been in custody since January 2020. It is said that he has undergone more than 4 years whereas the maximum punishment is seven years under the relevant section of UAPA. The proceedings under Sedition cases have been stayed by the Supreme Court.

Advocate Talib Mustafa submitted before the high court His bail order was reserved for three months. Thereafter the presiding judge was transferred. Now the matter has been listed for fresh arguments before the current special judge.On the other hand, the bail plea was opposed by the special public prosecutor (SPP).He had argued that while deciding the bail application, the gravity of the offences also has to be considered, not the period undergone. The period of sentence under all offences should be considered by the court.

SPP had also argued that the integrity and sovereignty of the country would be in danger if the accused is released on bail.On December 9, 2023, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Amitabh Rawat asked the Delhi Police to file a clarification. Earlier, SPP Amit Prasad had submitted that there is some ambiguity on the provision mentioned by the defence counsel on the point that whether the accused under UAPA with multiple offences and undergone half of the sentence under UAPA is entitled to be released on bail under Section 436A CrPC.

Advocate Talib Mustafa had opposed the submissions made by the SPP for the Delhi Police.He has been in custody since January 28, 2020. Therefore, he is entitled to statutory bail under Section 436 A CrPC, the counsel had argued.On the other hand, Delhi police said that there are multiple offences, not only one. Section 436 of Crpc talks about only ‘an offence’.

SPP Amit Prasad earlier argued that a concurrent sentence is an exception, whereas a consecutive sentence is a rule. In this way, the maximum sentence he can be awarded is 16 years, the punishment for which is restricted to 14 years.SPP has presumed, “I would be convicted. It is contradictory to the principle of innocence, the counsel argued.”The counsel submitted that the applicant has been in custody since January 28, 2020, in connection with the FIR of January 25, 2020, P.S. Crime Branch, registered for the offences punishable under 124A, 153A, 153B, and 505(2) IPC and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.It is stated that the applicant was arrested from his hometown of Jehanabad, Bihar, in this case on January 28, 2020, and was produced before the Patiala House Court.

Since then, he has been in judicial custody after police interrogation.It is further submitted that the investigation in the matter stands concluded and final report/chargesheet against the applicant has been filed in this case on July 25, 2020 for the offences punishable u/s 124A, 153A, 153B, 505 of IPC and Section 13 of UAPA.

The Court took cognizance of the speeches/offences under section 124A, 153A, 1538 and 505 IPC on July 29 2020 and Section 13 of the UAPA, on 19:12 pm 2020, the plea stated.Thereafter, charges were formally framed against the applicant on 15.03 2022 by Court under section 124A, 153A, 153B and 505 IPCThe Supreme Court had passed the direction effectively staying the operation of Section 124A IPC and all proceedings emanating therefrom, it added.The High Court of Delhi, on October 10, 2022 directed that trial be stayed in respect of material witnesses and only formal witnesses be examined.

It is argued that the Section 436A of CrPC is a wholesome beneficial substantive provision substantive one which is for effectuating the right of speedy trial guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.It is also said that after the stay of trial in the present case by the High Court in regard to the main offence of Section 124A IPC (Sedition) in light of the directions passed by Supreme Court in SG Vombatkere v Union of India on May 11, 2022, the only offences remaining against the applicant relate to offence punishable U/s 153A IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years, 153B IPC (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years, 505 IPC (Statements conducing to public mischief) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years and 13 of UAPA (Punishment for unlawful activities) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to seven years. (ANI). 

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

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