Sharjeel Imam case: Delhi HC refuses bail, upholds order extending inquiry time
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court granted no relief to former JNU student Sharjeel Imam as it dismissed his petition challenging the trial court’s order granting more time to complete the probe against him and also seeking default bail in a case pertaining to inflammatory speech during the anti-CAA protests.
A single judge bench of the high court presided by Justice V Kameshwar Rao turned down the petition filed by Imam through advocates Bhavook Chauhan, Surabhi Dhar and Ahmed Ibrahim had also sought court’s direction to release Imam on default bail under section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The high court had on June 25 reserved its order on petition filed by Imam after hearing the matter at length through video conferencing.
During the course of hearing, Additonal Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi and advocate Rajat Nair, special counsels appointed by the Delhi L-G in the matters relating to Delhi Police, appearing for the Delhi Police contended that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the investigation has been badly hampered.
“Investigation doesn’t happen through video conferencing. The seizures, searches, movement, almost every part of the probe has been hit badly due to the pandemic,” Lekhi argued.
Senior advocate Rebecca John who was appearing for Imam opposed the submissions of the ASG and submitted that due to the delay in investigation, her client is suffering. “There is no parity between them (police) and me, I am the one who suffers consequences,” John argued.
On June 5, the Delhi Police filed its response before the high court opposing the present petition filed by the former JNU scholar.
In its affidavit, the police claimed, “Imam by way of his speeches was addressing a particular religious section of the society and creating disaffection towards government established by the law by creating unfounded fears in their minds regarding CAA and the process of NRC, which is yet to be implemented in any manner throughout the country barring Assam.”
“The accused by way of his speeches was also spreading falsehood about genocide in Assam. He through his speeches was instigating a particular religious section of the society to disrupt/block the access to North-East region of India from rest of India,” the affidavit read further.
Recently, Delhi’s Patiala House Court dismissed the bail application filed by Imam in a matter pertaining to giving inflammatory speech, asserting that it is bereft of merit.
Imam was in the eye of a storm for his “inflammatory” speech in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on December 13 and subsequently on January 16 at Aligarh Muslim University, where he allegedly threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the northeast from the country.