NEW DELHI: A sessions court has issued notice to Delhi Police on the bail plea moved by student activist Sharjeel Imam in connection with a 2020 communal riots case involving allegations of sedition.
Seeking Delhi Police’s response in the matter, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat at Karkardooma court adjourned the matter for September 11 for further proceedings, court sources said.
The petition contended that Imam has been in custody since January 28, 2020, and completed more than three years and six months in jail. “That after the stay of trial in the present case by the Delhi High Court in regard to the main offence of Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 124 (sedition) in light of the directions passed by the Supreme Court, the only offences remaining against the applicant are under IPC sections 153 A, 153 B, 505 and Section 13 of the UAPA,” it said.
Section 153A pertains to the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., while Section 153B relates to imputations, and assertions prejudicial to national integration. Section 505 involves punishment for making statements conducing to public mischief. All three offences provide for a maximum imprisonment extending up to five years.
Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), an anti-terror law, provides for imprisonment that may extend up to seven years.
“That even as per the maximum punishment extending up to seven years prescribed under Section 13 of the UAPA, the applicant has completed one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for the concerned offence by law,” the plea said, asserting Sharjeel Imam was entitled to statutory bail.
In May, the same court had summoned the Special Commissioner of Delhi Police’s Special Cell after an inspector failed to give a status of the probe in relation to a 2020 Delhi riots case in which activists Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, and nearly a dozen others were accused of.
Apart from them-- Tahir Hussain, Isharat Jahan, Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Shadab Ahmmed Tasleem Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Mohd. Saleem Khan, Athar Khan, Safoora Zargar, Faizan Khan and Natasha Narwal also accused in the case. Additional Sessions Judge AmiAmitabh Rawat of Karkardooma Courts noted that neither the Special Public Prosecutor nor the Investigating Officer were present before the court on May 24.
‘Applicant has completed half of maximum sentence’
“That even as per the maximum punishment extending up to seven years prescribed under Section 13 of the UAPA, the applicant has completed one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for the concerned offence by law,” the plea said