SC says can't pass interim orders on Sharjeel Imam's plea to club sedition FIRs in various states without govts' replies

The Supreme Court on Friday said it 'cannot pass interim orders' without seeing the replies of all the five states on a plea by JNU student and anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam who has sought clubbing of multiple FIRs levelling sedition charges against him for allegedly making inflammatory speeches.

Press Trust of India June 19, 2020 16:58:39 IST
SC says can't pass interim orders on Sharjeel Imam's plea to club sedition FIRs in various states without govts' replies

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it "cannot pass interim orders" without seeing the replies of all the five states on a plea by JNU student and anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam who has sought clubbing of multiple FIRs levelling sedition charges against him for allegedly making inflammatory speeches.

The apex court was informed that governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have filed their counter affidavits on Imam's plea but no responses have been filed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

"We cannot pass interim orders without seeing the replies of other states," a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and V Ramasubramanian said.

SC says cant pass interim orders on Sharjeel Imams plea to club sedition FIRs in various states without govts replies

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

The counsel representing Assam sought time to file reply on the plea.

"We will give time," said the bench, which heard the matter through video-conferencing. The apex court granted two weeks time to Assam, Manipur and Arunachal to file their replies and said that rejoinder be filed within a week thereafter.

The bench has posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that all these cases lodged against Imam should be consolidated.

The apex court had on 26 May sought responses from Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur on the plea and had given another opportunity to the Delhi government to file its reply in the matter.

On 1 May, the top court had sought Delhi government's reply on the plea. In his plea, Imam has also sought transfer of all criminal cases against him to the national capital and probe by a single agency.

Imam's counsel had earlier told the top court that five FIRs have been registered against him in different states in connection with two speeches given in Delhi and in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

The lawyer had said that FIRs are lodged against Imam in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and he has been booked under sedition charges.

Delhi Police has booked Imam under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), he had said. On 28 January, Imam was arrested by Delhi Police's crime branch from Bihar's Jehanabad in a sedition case for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh.

The PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) Centre for Historical Studies has been booked on sedition and other charges after purported videos of his alleged inflammatory speeches made during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) were circulated on social media.

An FIR was registered against him by Delhi Police on 25 January under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting or attempting to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever) among others.

"Two videos came to light, one was on 13 December at Jamia Milia Islamia and other was on 16 January at Aligarh, where it was noticed that Imam had delivered very inflammatory speeches in opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens and such comments can potentially affect religious harmony and weaken the unity and integrity of the country," police had said.

A graduate in computer science from IIT-Mumbai, Imam had shifted to Delhi for pursuing research at the Centre for Historical Studies at the JNU.

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