Delhi court dismisses Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea

New Delhi: Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Monday dismissed the bail application filed by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam in a matter pertaining to giving inflammatory speech, asserting that it is bereft of merit.

In his bail application, Sharjeel had claimed that the police did not complete the investigation within the statutory 90-day period following his arrest.

“The applicant was arrested on 28.01.2020 and the statutory period of 90 days would have concluded on 27.04.2020. Till 27.04.2020, the investigation was not concluded, and the accused has an indefeasible right to be released on bail,” the bail application stated.

Imam is currently lodged in a jail in Guwahati.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana, however, noted that extension of time period to conclude the investigation was already given before the expiry of the statutory period, on April 25.

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“Since the time period to conclude the investigation has already been extended as per Section 43D (2) of the UAPA, I am of the opinion that the application for his release on statutory bail is bereft of merit and the same is accordingly dismissed,” the judge added.

During the course of proceedings, advocate Bhavuk Chauhan, appearing on behalf of Imam, asserted that the 90-day extension of the investigation period on April 25 was not in consonance with the statutory provisions and that his client deserved to be released on bail.

Additional public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed vehemently opposed the bail plea and questioned its maintainability.

Imam came in the eye of the storm for allegedly giving “inflammatory” speech in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on December 13, and subsequently on January 16 at the Aligarh Muslim University, where he allegedly threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the Northeast from the country.

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The Delhi Police had recently invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against him in connection with the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019. Following this, a 90-day extension of investigation was allowed by the court.

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