Delhi HC notice to cops on Sharjeel Imam’s plea against sedition case
On September 30, 2022, Imam was granted regular bail in the present FIR by the trial court but he continues to remain in jail on account of his custody in other cases.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the response of the Delhi Police on a plea moved by JNU student activist Sharjeel Imam against criminal proceedings against him in two different cases linked with the same speech delivered by him at Jamia Millia Islamia University in December 2019.
On his plea seeking removal of a supplementary charge sheet adding sedition and hate speech in the alleged objectionable speech, Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar sought issued notice to the cops and posted the matter for further hearing on October 18. Sharjeel, in his petition, argued that the prosecution was fully aware that he was already being prosecuted for the same speech before the Special Court constituted under Section 22 of the NIA Act, 2008 while adding another charge and it is ‘nothing but a classic case of abuse of the statutory power of investigation.’
During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner said the challenge to the supplementary charge sheet was to the extent of addition of the offences of sedition, whose operation has been stayed by the Supreme Court, and hate speech.
He said a separate FIR for the same offences has already been registered by the Delhi Police in relation to two of his speeches during the anti-CAA protests, including the speech in question here. The petition has also sought direction from the trial court to proceed with the trial in the matter with respect to all the other offences invoked in the case. The present FIR was based on the violence that took place at Jamia and Mata Mandir Marg on December 15, 2019, for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, including rioting and attempt to commit culpable homicide, and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
In the plea, the petitioner said there cannot be multiple criminal proceedings on the same incident against a person and multiple prosecutions launched against the petitioner for the same alleged speech are “illegal” and against the Constitution. On September 30, 2022, Imam was granted regular bail in the present FIR by the trial court but he continues to remain in jail on account of his custody in other cases.
Imam is facing prosecution in several cases arising from the violence following the anti-CAA protests carried out in the city in December 2019. He is also involved in the UAPA case concerning the “larger conspiracy” behind the riots that broke out in the north-east area of the national capital in February 2020.