The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the police on a petition filed by activist Sharjeel Imam seeking interim bail in a sedition case, Live Law reported.
On July 23, a sessions court in Delhi had denied interim bail to the former Jawaharlal Nehru University student, saying that the court had already passed an order denying him regular bail. It also refused to stay the trial against him.
On Friday, a High Court bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta also asked the police to respond on another petition by Imam challenging the order refusing to stay the trial against him. The court directed the police to file a status report within two weeks, and posted the case for further hearing on August 25.
Imam was booked on sedition charges after the police accused him of making inflammatory statements during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.
The former Jawaharlal Nehru University student had sought interim bail on the grounds that the Supreme Court had put the sedition law in abeyance. He had contended that the case against him had been significantly diluted on account of the Supreme Court judgement.
However, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said that Imam could not file another bail petition when the court had rejected his application seeking regular bail.
While rejecting the petition on staying the trial, judge Rawat said that the Supreme Court had only directed that pending trials with respect to sedition charges should be kept in abeyance. The judge said that the Supreme Court had said that trials with respect to other charges could proceed if the court believed that no prejudice would be caused to the accused persons, according to Live Law.
“In the present case, the trial is continuing against accused Sharjeel Imam not only in respect of offence under Section 124A IPC [sedition] but also for the offence under Section 153A IPC [promoting enmity between groups], 153B IPC [assertions prejudicial to national integration], 505 IPC [statements conducive to public mischief] and 13 UAPA [punishment for unlawful activities]” the court said.
The police have alleged that in his speech at Aligarh Muslim University in 2020, Imam had asked those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated chicken’s neck”. Imam’s lawyers have argued that the statement was a way to refer to a chakka jam call that he had made in the speech.
The activist was arrested from Bihar on January 28, 2020, and has been in custody since then. He has also been booked for in connection with the alleged “conspiracy” related to planning the communal riots that erupted in Delhi in February 2020.