In a sedition case filed against him for his allegedly provocative remarks against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens, a Delhi court on Friday granted JNU student Sharjeel Imam bail (NRC).
Imam will however continue to be detained because he is a key defendant in the conspiracy case involving the Delhi riots.
For his comments in 2019, the New Friends Colony Police Station filed a sedition FIR against Imam on the grounds that they allegedly incited violence in Jamia Nagar in Delhi.
He was prosecuted for several offences under the Indian Penal Code after the police claimed that his statements sparked unrest in the neighbourhood (IPC).
The Court later noted that Imam was only found guilty of two of these offences.
They were Sections 124A (Sedition) and 153A offences (Promoting enmity between groups).
In both of these cases, bail has now been granted to Imam.
Additional Sessions Judge Anuj Agrawal granted Imam statutory bail after observing that the Supreme Court had suspended the section of the law that made sedition a crime and that Imam had already served more than half of the prison time required for the offence under Section 153A.
The Delhi High Court is now hearing bail requests in the conspiracy to commit the Delhi riots case.
On July 23, Additional sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat of Karkardooma court dismissed the interim bail plea of Imam, who is in judicial custody under sedition charges, among others.
The former JNU student was approaching the lower court after withdrawing the interim bail application from the Delhi High Court as the prosecution had raised the issue of maintainability.
Imam had approached the high court first for relief following the historic Supreme Court verdict that put on hold the colonial-era penal provision of sedition (Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code).
In his bail application, Imam said that since the top court has put sedition in abeyance, his case has improved for the grant of bail.
“The appellant has been incarcerated for nearly 28 months since January 28, 2020 whereas the maximum punishment for the offences — not including 124-A IPC — are punishable for up to a maximum of seven years imprisonment,” the plea read.
JNU scholars and activists Imam and Umar Khalid are among the nearly dozen people reportedly involved in the alleged larger conspiracy linked to the Delhi riots of 2020, as per the Delhi Police.
Imam and Khalid are facing charges in connection with making inflammatory speeches which allegedly fuelled the violence, as per the police.
The riots broke out in the national capital in February 2020 as clashes between the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and pro-CAA protesters took a violent turn. The mayhem saw more than 50 people lose their lives besides leaving over 700 persons injured.
With inputs from IANS.