Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Sharjeel Imam applies for bail on heels of SC putting Sedition law in abeyance

Sharjeel Imam

Delhi riots accused Sharjeel Imam has filed for bail in the Delhi High Court no sooner than the Supreme Court stayed trial in all sedition cases on Wednesday. 

It is learnt that the JNU student, facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for his role in plotting the riots in Delhi in February 2020, approached the Delhi High Court on Thursday with a fresh application seeking bail following the Supreme Court order. 

Sharjeel Imam filed a plea through advocate Tanvir Ahmed Mir pleading for bail. He has cited the recent SC direction on sedition cases. 

“With this order, the trial court will find it easier to grant bail, which wasn’t the case earlier,” the petition read. 

It is important to note that Imam is accused of being the mastermind of the February 2020 riots, leaving 53 people dead and over 700 injured. 

In the petition, Tanvir Ahmed added that he would appeal to the Delhi High Court and seek immediate bail for Sharjeel Imam, who has been in custody for over two years now. The petition said Imam has been in custody since January 2020, and the Allahabad High Court had granted him bail in another case.

The bail plea also claimed that the instant FIR was registered against Imam on January 25, 2020, with four other FIRs across multiple states for the speeches attributed to him.

The instant FIR was initially registered for the offenses punishable under sections 124A (punishment for sedition), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505(2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the IPC and later section 13 (punishment for unlawful activities) of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was added.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court stayed trials in all sedition cases pending before courts across the country until the government concludes its promised exercise to re-examine and re-consider the provisions of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court had directed the Centre and states not to register any fresh FIRs invoking sedition charges until the law is reviewed.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli held that all pending trials, appeals, and proceedings with respect to charges framed under Section124 A be kept in abeyance.

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