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Court Denies Bail to Activist Sharjeel Imam in sedition case

A court on Saturday dismissed the bail plea of student activist Sharjeel Imam, who has been in custody for over four years. The court stated that Imam’s case was “different” due to the nature of allegations against him and his “disruptive activities.”

“Keeping in view the alleged acts of the applicant (Sharjeel Imam), the court is of the view that the facts in the case in hand are not normal and different than the facts which in any other case could be,” the court said.

“Considering the allegations against the applicant and his disruptive activities, the court deems it appropriate not to consider the relief as prayed for and to continue his custody,” it added.

According to the court, Imam’s continued custody was warranted despite spending more than half of the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence, as specified under CrPC Section 436-A.

The charges against Imam include delivering speeches that allegedly incited communal riots in various parts of Delhi. The court highlighted Imam’s speeches in Delhi, Aligarh, Asansol, and Chakband, which purportedly triggered unrest.

The Court noted Imam’s creation of a WhatsApp group and distribution of pamphlets to mobilize opposition against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.

Imam faces charges under various sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In 2022, the trial court had framed charges against Imam, including sedition, promoting enmity, and imputations prejudicial to national integration. Although the court cannot consider sedition charges, it remarked that Imam’s actions could be deemed seditious based on their dictionary meaning.

Imam’s plea for bail under CrPC Section 436-A was denied by the court, citing the seriousness of the allegations and the potential for further disruption if he were to be released.

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