The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to Delhi police on Sharjeel Imam’s plea challenging a trial court order denying him bail in a Sedition case. His earlier bail plea was dismissed by the trial court on February 17.
The division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain issued a notice to Delhi police and granted two weeks to file a reply. The petitioner’s counsel has been granted one week to file a response to the reply.
The High Court has listed the matter in April for hearing.
This case pertains to alleged inflammatory speeches by Sharjeel Imam in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jamia Area in the year 2019. He had sought statutory bail on the grounds of the period undergone in custody. He has been in custody since January 2020 in this case. He is also an accused in the larger Conspiracy of Delhi riots case.
Special judge Sameer Bajpai dismissed the bail plea. It was argued that Sharjeel has been in custody for the last 4 years and it is more than half of the maximum sentence.
The Delhi High Court on January 30 directed the trial court to decide his bail application within 10 days. Sharjeel Imam had approached the high court seeking statutory bail under section 436 A CrPC.
This trial court began a fresh hearing on February 7, 2024. Advocate Talib Mustafa and Ahmad Ibrahim appeared for Sharjeel Imam.

It was argued that he has been in custody since January 2020. It is said that he has undergone more than 4 years whereas the maximum punishment is seven years under the relevant section of UAPA. The proceedings under Sedition cases have been stayed by the Supreme Court.
Advocate Talib Mustafa submitted before the high court His bail order was reserved for three months. Thereafter the presiding judge was transferred. Now the matter has been listed for fresh arguments before the current special judge.
On the other hand, the bail plea was opposed by the special public prosecutor (SPP) Ashish Dutt.
He had argued that while deciding the bail application the gravity of the offences also has to be considered and not the period undergone. The period of sentence under all offences should be considered by the court.
SPP had also argued that the integrity and sovereignty of the country would be in danger if the accused is released on bail. On December 9, 2023, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Amitabh Rawat asked the Delhi Police to file clarification.

Earlier, SPP Amit Prasad had submitted that there is some ambiguity on the provision mentioned by the defence counsel on the point that whether the accused under UAPA with multiple offences and undergone half of the sentence under UAPA, is entitled to be released on bail under section 436A Cr.pc.
Advocate Talib Mustafa had opposed the submissions made by the SPP for Delhi Police.
He has been in custody since January 28, 2020. Therefore he is entitled to statutory bail under section 436 A Cr.pc, the counsel had argued.
On the other hand, Delhi police had said that there are multiple offences, not only one offence. Section 436 A Crpc talks about only ‘an offence’.
SPP Amit Prasad argued that a concurrent sentence is an exception whereas the consecutive sentence is a rule. In this way, the maximum sentence he can be awarded is 16 years, the punishment of which is restricted to 14 years.
Spp has presumed that I would be convicted. It is Contradictory to the principle of innocence, the counsel argued.
The counsel submitted that the applicant has been in custody since 28.01.2020 in connection with FIR of 25.01.2020 P.S. Crime Branch, registered for the offences punishable U/s 124A, 153A, 153B and 505(2) IPC and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
It is stated that the applicant was arrested from his hometown Jehanabad, Bihar in this case on 28.01.2020 and was produced before the Patiala House Court. Since then, he has been in judicial custody after police interrogation.
It is further submitted that the investigation in the matter stands concluded and a final report/chargesheet against the applicant has been filed in this case on 25.07.2020 for the offences punishable u/s 124A, 153A, 153B, 505 of IPC and Section 13 of UAPA.
The Court took cognizance of the speeches/offences under section 124A, 153A, 1538 and 505 IPC on July 29, 2020, and Section 13 of the UAPA, on December 19, 2020, the plea stated.
Thereafter, charges were formally framed against the applicant on15.03 2022 by Court under section 124A, 153A, 153B and 505 IPC
The Supreme Court had passed the direction effectively staying the operation of Section 124A IPC and all proceedings emanating therefrom, it added.
The High Court of Delhi, on 31.10.2022 directed that the trial be stayed in respect of material witnesses and only formal witnesses be examined.
It is argued that the Section 436A of Cr.PC. is a wholesome beneficial substantive provision substantive one which is for effectuating the right of speedy trial guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.
It is also said that after the stay of trial in the present case by the High Court regarding the main offence of Section 124A IPC (Sedition) in light of the directions passed by the Supreme Court in S.G Vombatkere v. Union of India on 11.05.2022, the only offences remaining against the applicant relate to an offence punishable U/s 153A IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years, 153B IPC (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years, 505 IPC (Statements conducing to public mischief) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to five years and 13 of UAPA (Punishment for unlawful activities) which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to seven years. (ANI)