Sharjeel Imam gets bail in one of Jamia violence cases

Sharjeel Imam gets bail in one of Jamia violence cases

New Delhi: Taking him just one step closer to getting out of jail, a local court here has now granted bail to JNU student and prominent anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam in a case related to the violence outside Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019. But he remains accused and without bail in a barrage of other cases filed by police in various states over his participation in anti-CAA protests.

In the current case, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dinesh Kumar granted Sharjeel bail after noting that the police had not arrested him during the investigation of the case and that at this stage it would be correct to allow his petition and grant him bail.

The CMM's court granted Sharjeel bail on a bond of Rs 25,000 and one surety of the like amount. This case is registered in Delhi and includes offences relating to rioting and unlawful assembly under sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 333, 308, 427, 435, 323, 341, 120B and 34 of IPC.

Significantly, a few weeks ago, another Delhi court had denied Sharjeel bail in a case related to some of his speeches - alleging that they had incited violence during the anti-CAA protests in December 2019 in Delhi. While the court had importantly noted that there was no evidence pointing to Sharjeel's speech inciting anyone to commit violence.

However, the court had held that the speech was nonetheless "communal" in nature and hence denied bail. A challenge to this order is pending in the Delhi High Court.

But, in yet another case filed against Sharjeel for speeches he delivered during the anti-CAA protests at Aligarh Muslim University, the Allahabad High Court had granted him bail - noting that neither did his speech call for anyone to bear arms nor did it incite anyone to commit violent acts.

Significantly, many have argued that Sharjeel being charged by multiple police departments from Delhi to Assam for his anti-CAA speeches might be violating a crucial principle of criminal law - the one that bars the same offence from being prosecuted separately.

In addition to these cases, Sharjeel is accused in another case for his speech, in which a local court has reserved orders on his bail petition — again for speeches he made at AMU and Jamia Nagar in Delhi. This one also includes sections of Sedition and sections under the stringent UAPA.

Moreover, Sharjeel also stands accused in the "main conspiracy" case with respect to the north-east Delhi riots last year — along with several other prominent student leaders and anti-CAA activists such as Umar Khalid, Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal Tanha and others.

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