The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Sharjeel Imam to approach the lower court first for bail in connection with the sedition case registered against him following the alleged inflammatory speeches delivered by him during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in 2020.
A division bench comprising Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Mini Pushkarna was hearing Sharjeel’s appeal for relief following the historic Supreme Court verdict which put on hold the colonial-era penal provision of sedition (Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code).
During the course of the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad opposed the maintainability of the interim bail application citing a 2014 apex court verdict.
As per the Supreme Court order, the bail pea should be before the Special Court first and if aggrieved, an appeal can be moved before the High Court, he argued.
Considering the SPP’s submissions, the bench asked the appellant to approach the lower court first.
In the fresh bail application, he said that since the top court has put sedition (Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code) in abeyance, his case has improved for the grant of bail.
“The appellant has been incarcerated for nearly 28 months since January 28, 2020 whereas the maximum punishment for the offences — not including 124-A IPC– are punishable up to a maximum of 7 years of imprisonment,” the plea read.
JNU scholars and activists Imam and Umar Khalid are among the nearly a dozen people involved in the alleged larger conspiracy case linked with the Delhi riots 2020, as per the Delhi Police.
Imam and Khalid are facing charges in connection with the inflammatory speeches which are allegedly fuelled, as per the police. The riots broke out in the national capital in February 2020 as clashes between the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and pro-CAA protesters took a violent turn.
The mayhem, which coincided with the then US President Donald Trump’s maiden trip to India, saw more than 50 people lose their lives and over 700 were injured.