Court seeks response of Delhi Police on Sharjeel Imam’s bail plea

A court here has sought the response of Delhi Police on the bail plea moved by student activist Sharjeel Imam in connection with a 2020 communal riots case involving allegations of sedition.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat issued notice to Delhi Police last Friday and posted the matter for further proceedings on September 11, court sources said.

According to the petition, 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 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.

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