2020 riots: Delhi High Court to hear Sharjeel’s bail plea on Jan 9
The court, which had earlier reserved a verdict on the bail plea by United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in the same case, also permitted his senior counsel to make additional legal submissions.
Published: 22nd December 2022 07:33 AM | Last Updated: 22nd December 2022 07:33 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it will hear on January 9 the bail plea by JNU student Sharjeel Imam in a UAPA case related to the alleged conspiracy behind the 2020 riots. A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar deferred the hearing after Imam’s counsel sought an adjournment in the matter and directed the special public prosecutor to file a soft copy of the charge sheet in the case in the meantime.
The court, which had earlier reserved a verdict on the bail plea by United Against Hate founder Khalid Saifi in the same case, also permitted his senior counsel to make certain additional legal submissions.
Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Saifi, argued that the power of a constitutional court to grant bail was not circumscribed by provisions of the UAPA and the court has to see if there have been violations of the fundamental rights of the accused under Part III of the Constitution.
“In all cases, whether UAPA or not... what is that a court looks into even in a murder case-- Is there prima facie material against you. In that sense, actually, UAPA does not say anything that is new,” she added. John further emphasised that Saifi was in custody for almost three years and the trial was unlikely to conclude in the foreseeable future.
“My client has suffered about three years of custody... The charge sheet in FIR 59/2020 has 495 witnesses, 33 protected witnesses, and 63 investigating officers. Three supplementary charge sheets have been filed. In which reasonable world will this trial end in the foreseeable future with 15 accused?” John asked.
Imam, Saifi and several others, including Umar Khalid, have been booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the “masterminds” of the February 2020 riots in Northeast Delhi, which left 53 people dead and over 700 injured. The violence erupted during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).