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Crime, Police And Law

Sharjeel Imam Approached Delhi HC Against Order Permitting Police More Time for Investigating the matter

By Ghazal Bhootra      13 May, 2020 10:29 AM      0 Comments
Sharjeel Imam Approached Delhi HC

Alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Sharjeel Imam, who has been arrested in a case related to purported provocative speeches during the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and National Register of Citizens, moved the Delhi High Court against a trial court order that allowed for more time to the police to conclude its investigation on the matter on 11th May 2020.

The petition is most probably to be listed for hearing on May 14, 2020.

The accused has disputed the trial court’s order dated April 25, 2020, by which the Delhi Police was permitted three months more, after the given 90 days, to finish the investigation required for the matter at hand under the strict Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Imam was taken into custody on January 28, 2020, in the case related to demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 that turned violent near the Jamia Millia Islamia University in December 2020. The regulatory period of 90 days from the time he was arrested was completed on April 27, 2020.

He was taken into custody from Bihar’s Jehanabad district.

He applied for a default bail on the grounds that the investigation was not finished within the time frame of 90 days and when the police had filed an appeal for 3 months more to complete the investigation, he was not served a notice as mentioned in the law. The trial court, however, dismissed the bail plea stating that the order that increased the time frame for investigation was given before the expiry of the 90 days required.

“Since the time period to conclude investigation has already been extended as per section 43 D (2) of UAPA, I am of the considered opinion that application for release of the accused on statutory bail is bereft of merits and the same is accordingly dismissed”, the trial court judge had stated in the order.

Section 43-D (2) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, states that if it is impossible to terminate the investigation within 90 days, then the court can extend the period of the probe to 180 days upon the report of the public prosecutor showcasing the progress of the investigation and the highlighted reasons for the custody of the accused beyond the 90 days’ period, after satisfaction.

In the petition, Imam objected that he was not even brought before the court for consequent remands every 15 days as stated by the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The plea further added that the police, in its April 25, 2020 application, asked for an extension of time for investigation and it had not pleaded to lengthen his judicial custody and hence he qualifies for bail.

It was contented that the application by the police did not have ‘compelling reasons’ that are necessary to be divulged for extension of time beyond 90 days. It claimed that on a careful analysis of the address made by the charged, section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was enforced. But it is not apparent as to why the ‘careful’ analysis took more than 80 days or what supplementary details have been discovered.

Imam is presently in custody at the Guwahati jail in a case related to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 filed by the police of Assam.

In its response, the police said that owing to the pandemic, the pace of investigation was seriously disrupted and further informed the court that they are yet to examine the participants of a WhatsApp group involving Muslim students of JNU, persons who provided their accounts to arrange for money to get printed the pamphlet. Imam’s friends and persons who initially recorded the video the speech at Jamia are also yet to be investigated.

Initially, a case under section 124 A (sedition) and 153 A IPC (promoting enmity between classes) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code was registered as a consequence to the speeches addressed by Imam, which are claimed to have instigated a particular religious section of the society to block the access to North East region of India from rest of India, the police had alleged. 

The mob engaged in large-scale rioting, stone-pelting, and arson, and in the process destroyed several properties and injured some people and some of the police personnel, the police mentioned.

Imam was claimed to have engaged in organizing protests at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. He went viral after a video displayed him making controversial comments, after which he was taken into custody under sedition charges.

Police in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh had filed FIRs against the student over his speech in which he threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the northeast states from the country.

 



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