Jawaharla Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam, arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition law, has moved a bail plea before a court in New Delhi, in a case related to his alleged inflammatory speeches.
Imam, an activist and a JNU PhD scholar, surrendered to the Delhi police in January 2020, amid a lookout for him after he was charged with sedition. He was also charged under the UAPA in April 2020.
According to PTI, Sharjeel Imam, on Thursday, 15 July, claimed that he has never participated in or encouraged any violence during the course of any protest or demonstration and is a peace-loving citizen.
Further, advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, representing Sharjeel, reportedly read parts of his speeches to the court and pointed out that they do not fall within the meaning of sedition law.
“If somebody is a critic of a constitutional policy, does that enable the State to book him for sedition?” Advocate Mir asked, according to LiveLaw.
Meanwhile, in a different case, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, on Thursday, asked Attorney General of India KK Venugopal whether the provision for sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code is still required after 75 years of independence from colonial rule.
WHAT ELSE DID SHARJEEL IMAM’S ADVOCATE SAY?
“Where is the call of violence? How does sedition come into play? The context is to block the roads. How is this seditious? He called for a greater federal structure. That was the intent.”
Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir, accordint to PTI
The advocate, at Thursday’s hearing also said: “Imam spoke about cutting off some cities. When the call for rail roko is not seditious, why is the call of bringing the country to a standstill seditious?”
Mir, as per PTI, went on to submit that perusal of the contents of the speeches show that there was neither any ”incitement to violence” nor have any ”incidents of violence” taken place that could be attributed to the Imam’s speeches.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on 2 August.
The, Delhi Police had, in 2020, filed a charge sheet against Sharjeel in the case, alleging that Imam gave speeches inciting hatred, contempt, and disaffection towards the central government and instigated the people, which led to the violence in December 2019.
Meanwhile, a Delhi Court on Thursday listed the hearing of bail plea by former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the northeast Delhi riots conspiracy case, on 27 July.
(With inputs from PTI and LiveLaw)
This article first appeared on The Quint