The Delhi Police on Friday contended before the Delhi High Court that former JNU student Sharjeel Imam, arrested in a case related to alleged inflammatory speeches during the protests against CAA and NRC, was not entitled for any relief as he was continuously giving instigating speeches against the government.
The police said “his speeches were communal in nature which caused serious communal strife and promoted enmity between various religious groups under the garb of protest against CAA and NRC.” The police filed an affidavit in this regard and opposed the plea of Imam, who has challenged a trial court order granting more time to police to conclude the investigation.
It said no provision of law has been violated and there are good and substantial cause for enlargement of time for probe.
The investigators contended that Imam was not entitled for any relief as he was “continuously giving inflammatory and instigating speeches against the government on the issue of CAA and NRC.
” The police filed its affidavit through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair, in response to Imam’s plea challenging the trial court’s April 25 order by which the Delhi Police was granted three more months, beyond statutory 90 days, to complete the investigation in the case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The plea is scheduled to come up for hearing on June 10.
Imam was arrested on January 28 from Bihar’s Jehanabad district in the case related to violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act near the Jamia Millia Islamia University in December last year.
The statutory period of 90 days from the arrest was concluded on April 27.
He has also sought default bail in the matter on the ground that the investigation was not concluded within the statutory period of 90 days and when the police had filed an application for more time to complete the investigation, he was not given a notice as required under the law.
The trial court had dismissed the bail plea.
It said Imam by way of his speeches was addressing a particular religious section of the society and creating disaffection towards the government by creating unfounded fears in their minds regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is yet to be implemented in any manner throughout the country barring Assam.
The accused by way of his speeches was also spreading falsehood about genocide in Assam, it said.
It added that neither any enactment was violated nor any right was infringed and there was no legal infirmity in the trial court’s order that requires indulgence of the high court.
Imam has claimed in the plea that no notice was given to his lawyer informing them about the application of the special cell seeking the extension of the time to file the charge sheet in view of invoking UAPA charges against him.
However, the police said despite the lockdown, the counsel of the accused was timely informed of the application being filed under section 43 of the UAPA through WhatsApp and a call, keeping in view the rights of the accused.
Section 43-D (2) of UAPA provides that if it is not possible to complete the investigation within the 90 days period, then upon the report of the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the probe and the specific reasons for the detention of the accused beyond the 90 days period, after satisfaction, the court can extend the period of the probe to 180 days.
In the petition before the high court, Imam complained that he was not even produced before the court for subsequent remands, every 15 days as per the mandate of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Imam is currently lodged in Guwahati jail in a case related to UAPA registered by the Assam police.
The trial court had passed the order on April 25 after the police had submitted that due to global COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the ongoing lockdown, the pace of investigation was seriously disrupted.
Initially, a case under section 124 A (sedition) and 153 A IPC (promoting enmity between classes) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code was registered by the Crime Branch here, pursuant to the alleged speeches addressed by Imam, allegedly instigating a particular religious section of the society to disrupt/block the access to North East region of India from rest of India, police had claimed.
The police had earlier charged Imam with sedition, alleging his speech promoted enmity between people that led to riots.
Imam was allegedly involved in organising protests at Shaheen Bagh but came into limelight after a video showed him making controversial comments before a gathering at Aligarh Muslim University, following which he was booked under sedition charges.
Another case was filed against Imam in Assam under the stringent anti-terror law for his remark that Assam could be “severed from India, even if for a few months” as a result of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Police in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh had also lodged FIRs against the JNU scholar over his speech in which he threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the northeast from the country.