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Sharjeel Imam Granted Bail by Delhi High Court

On Monday, the Delhi High Court granted statutory bail to activist Sharjeel Imam in a sedition and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case

The case was filed against him for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches in Delhi’s Jamia area and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

The Division Bench comprising Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain issued the bail order, noting that Imam has already served half of the maximum sentence for the charges against him. Despite this, Imam will remain in jail as he is also implicated in the larger conspiracy case related to the 2020 Delhi riots.

Imam had challenged the trial court’s decision to deny him bail in the sedition case. The charges stem from his speeches at AMU and Jamia during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He was arrested on January 28, 2020.

Imam argued that having already spent four years in custody out of a possible seven-year sentence, he was entitled to statutory bail. He also pointed out that the Supreme Court of India has currently suspended the sedition law and that the UAPA charges against him do not carry a sentence exceeding seven years.

In a February 17 order, the trial court had denied Imam’s bail request. The court acknowledged that while Imam’s speeches and activities opposing the CAA did not directly incite violence, they did mobilize the public, which could have contributed to the Delhi riots.

Additional Sessions Judge Sameer Bajpai of Karkardooma court noted that Imam’s speeches resonated strongly with a specific community, leading to increased participation in disruptive activities and protests. This escalation allegedly resulted in blockades across Delhi, paralyzing the city.

The judge remarked that following Imam’s speeches, there was a notable rise in protest sites and demonstrators in Delhi. These events coincided with significant violence, extensive damage to public property, and numerous fatalities, attributed to the subsequent riots.

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