Court reserves order on Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved its order on the bail application of JNU scholar and activist Sharjeel Imam, in connection with a 2019 case related to his alleged inflammatory speeches during the protests against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat reserved the order after hearing both sides in the case. The court is likely to pronounce the order on the bail plea on November 15.

His counsel Tanveer Ahmed Mir argued that being critical of the government cannot be the cause of sedition.

While opposing Mir, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad argued that the fundamental right to protest cannot go beyond an extent that causes problems to the public at large.

As per the case, Sharjeel made the alleged inflammatory speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 13, 2019, and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 16, 2019.

He has been in judicial custody since January 2020. On October 22, while dismissing his bail plea, Saket Court Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Aggarwal had stated that the tone and tenor of an incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquility, peace and harmony.

However, the Judge refused to comment if the speech falls under the ambit of section 124A (sedition), stating that the same requires “deeper analysis”.

The Delhi Police on July 25, 2020, had filed a chargesheet against Sharjeel Imam in connection with a case related to his alleged inflammatory speeches during the protests against the CAA at several places.

The 600-page chargesheet was filed under section 124A (Sedition), 153(A) (Promoting enmity), 153 (Assertion prejudicial to national integration) (promoting enmity, hatred between different communities, 505 (spreading rumours) IPC and Section 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in Delhi’s Patiala House court.

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