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Law

Allahabad High Court Grants Bail to Sharjeel Imam in Sedition Case

The student activist will remain in jail for the moment as other cases against him – including one filed under the UAPA – are still pending.

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New Delhi: The Allahabad high court on Saturday (November 28) granted bail to student activist Sharjeel Imam in the sedition case registered against him for a speech at Aligarh Muslim University in 2019.

The detailed bail order is awaited.

This case was filed in Aligarh under IPC Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity grounds of religion, race), 153B (making statements provoking breach of peace) and 505(2) (statements made which are alarming, false intention to create disharmony).

FIRs had also been registered against the Jawaharlal Nehru University student in Delhi, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. He has already received bail in the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh cases.

In October, a Delhi court had denied bail to Imam for the same speech, observing that the “tone and tenor of the incendiary speech tend to have a debilitating effect upon public tranquility, peace and harmony of the society”.

Imam has also been named in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case pertaining to the Delhi riots. On November 2, a court reserved its order on Imam’s bail petition in this case.

Imam, through his counsel Ahmad Ibrahim, has said in court he is a peace-loving citizen and never participated in violence during any protest. He argued that no speech, much less the speech dated December 13, was aimed at spreading any disaffection against the government established by law or inciting violence or ill-will against any community.

Several rights groups have pointed out that the Delhi Police’s cases pertaining to the February 2020 communal violence have targeted anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protestors, who had been agitating peacefully for months, but not gone after right-wing leaders and activists who made openly provocative and threatening speeches at the time.