Delhi high court grants bail to Sharjeel Imam in 2020 seditious speech case

However, Imam has still not been acquitted in Delhi riots conspiracy case.

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Courtesy: ANI (File)

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Delhi High Court granted bail on Wednesday to student activist Sharjeel Imam in a case related to alleged seditious speeches made in December 2019. These speeches are said to be connected to the February 2020 Delhi riots.

Imam granted bail after four years in custody

Imam had been in judicial custody since January 28, 2020. He sought bail on the grounds that he had already served more than half of the maximum sentence (seven years) prescribed for the offense under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Charges against Imam

The prosecution alleged that Imam delivered inflammatory speeches at Jamia Millia Islamia University (December 13, 2019) and Aligarh Muslim University (December 16, 2019) threatening to sever Assam and the Northeast from India. The Delhi Police initially charged him with sedition, later adding Section 13 of the UAPA.

Trial court initially rejected bail

The trial court had earlier rejected Imam's bail plea, citing the seriousness of the accusations and his alleged role in inciting violence. The court argued that Imam's case differed due to the nature of the charges and his disruptive activities.

High court upholds statutory bail provision

The Delhi High Court bench, comprising Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain, allowed Imam's appeal, upholding his right to statutory bail under Section 436-A of the CrPC. This provision mandates releasing an undertrial who has spent more than half of the maximum sentence for the alleged offense.

Imam still faces Delhi riots conspiracy charges

While granted bail in the seditious speech case, Imam will remain in jail due to ongoing charges related to the Delhi riots conspiracy.