File photo of Sharjeel Imam.
(Photo courtesy: The Quint)

On 28 January this year, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam will complete three years as an incarcerated undertrial.

An accused under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), in connection with the Delhi Riots ‘Larger Conspiracy’ Case, the 34-year-old is presently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail. Until a little while ago, he was at least allowed to speak to his family on the phone on a daily basis. Now, that has been stopped.

Imam’s interlocutory application filed before a Delhi court says:

“The aforementioned (inmate phone calling) facility was abruptly stopped by the jail authorities recently without any reason or providing any opportunity for the Applicant to oppose the same…It is worth mentioning that the Applicant has been informed that he will be allowed to make one call each week as against daily calling facility (one call a day) which was available till now.”

It further says that this was carried out arbitrarily and without prior notice or intimation to Imam, as well as “without providing any cogent reasons for the same.”

As per media reports, Imam’s co-accused Gulfisha Fatima and Shifa-ur-Rehman have also filed similar applications before the court.

Imam’s lawyer Ahmad Ibrahim told The Quint that the court has asked jail superintendents to submit conduct reports of all accused persons, and that the matter has been listed for 21 January.


As per media reports, one of the Tihar jail superintendents, appearing before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on 2 January, placed reliance on Rule 631 of the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018, and a notification  issued in September 2022 by the Additional Inspector General (AIG), Prison HQs, Delhi Prisons, as reasons for the stop.

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