Court takes cognisance of offence of sedition against Sharjeel Imam
A Delhi court on Saturday took cognizance of a supplementary charge sheet filed against JNU student Sharjeel Imam in connection to a case related to alleged inflammatory speeches during the protests against CAA and NRC at Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Imam was arrested on January 28 from Bihar’s Jehanabad in the case related to violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) near Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) in December last year.
Imam is being probed for his alleged inflammatory speech at Jamia on December 13 and subsequently on January 16 at AMU, where he allegedly threatened to “cut off” Assam and the rest of the Northeast from India.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat took cognizance of the offence for sedition (124A), promoting religious enmity (153A), 153B (assertion prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (circulation of certain statement, rumours etc) of the Indian Penal Code against Imam while noting that sanction has been granted by the Delhi government under the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
On July 29, a city court had taken cognizance under charges of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other charges under the IPC. However, the judge had deferred the cognizance on the section 124A/153A/153B/505 IPC for the want of requisite sanction.
On Saturday, the police, through Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad, filed the supplementary charge sheet mentioning the permission granted by the Delhi government for Imam’s prosecution under sedition and promoting religious enmity.
Following this, the court said, “The requisite sanction under section 196 CrPC in the form of supplementary chargesheet has been filed. I have perused the supplementary charge sheet. In view of the same, I take cognizance for commission of offence under Section 124A/153A/153B/505 IPC”.
The city police’s crime branch had filed the charge sheet in the Patiala House Court on July 27 against Imam in the case registered against him on January 25.
The charge sheet has been filed under several relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act including sedition, promoting enmity between groups, and spreading rumors, etc.
“In the garb of protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), he (Imam) exhorted people of a particular community to block the highways leading to the major cities and resort to ‘chakka jaam’, thereby disrupting normal life. Also, in the name of opposing CAA, he also openly threatened to cut off Assam and other Northeastern states from the rest of the country,” police had said.
In this case Imam has been charged for delivering the ‘inflammatory and seditious’ speech. The officer said that in this same case, police later added sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Imam.
Citing the charges against Imam, police had said that the charge sheet filed had mentioned, “In the grab of protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), he (Imam) exhorted people of a particular community to block the highways leading to the major cities and resort to ‘chakka jaam’, thereby disrupting normal life.
“He also openly defied the constitution and called it a fascist document. Also, in the name of opposing CAA he also openly propagated blocking North-East states with the rest of the country,” a police officer had said.
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.
Separate cases have also been registered against him in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.