Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking to expunge certain remarks made by the Delhi High Court in its order denying bail to co-accused Umar Khalid in a case relating to 2020 Delhi riots.
In his plea filed before the top court, Sharjeel Imam states, “There is absolutely no evidence on record to justify the impugned observations." He also said that the High Court erred in making the impugned observations qua him in Umar Khalid’s appeal and as such, they are not an integral part of the Impugned order.
The High Court had observed that CDR analysis shows a flurry of calls between Khalid and other co-conspirators post riots, which shows his active role.
“Admittedly, there exists a string of commonality which runs among all the co-accused. It is an admitted position that both Khalid and Imam are members of the same WhatsApp group, and the two participated in the Jantar Mantar protests," the High Court had said.
Challenging these observations, Imam in his plea before the Apex Court said that these impugned remarks are against the principles of natural justice. “The observations and remarks in the Impugned Order have been made qua the Petitioner without an opportunity having being afforded to explain or defend himself and thereby, is in clear violation of the Principles of Natural Justice," he said.
“…the observations renders not just the bail application but as well as the criminal trial a fate accompli by the very nature of observations and therefore encroaches upon the Petitioner’s fundamental right to free and fair trial guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the plea said.
Turning down the bail application filed by JNU student leader Umar Khalid in the larger conspiracy case related to the North-East Delhi riots 2020, the Delhi High Court in its October 18 noted that epitome of these “pre-meditated conspiracy was attack by women on police personnel which is covered under terrorist attack”.
“There was an intentional blocking of roads to cause inconvenience and disruption of the essential services to the life of community residing in North-East Delhi, creating thereby panic and an alarming sense of insecurity. The attack on police personnel by women protesters in the front only followed by other ordinary people and engulfing the area into a riot is the epitome of such a pre-mediated plan and as such the same would prima facie be covered by the definition of ‘terrorist act’,” said a division bench of the high court presided over by Justice Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar.
The HC further noted that the protest planned was “not a typical protest”, which is normal in political culture or democracy, but one far more destructive and injurious, geared towards extremely grave consequences.
Commenting on Khalid’s role in the conspiracy that led to the violence in February 2020, the High Court said, “The name of the appellant finds recurring mention from the beginning of the conspiracy till the culmination of the ensuing riots. Admittedly, he was a member of the WhatsApp group of Muslim students of the JNU. He participated in various meetings at Jantar Mantar, Jangpura Office, Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur, Jaffrabad and Indian Social Institute on various dates. He was a member of the DPSG group. He referred to the visit of the president of USA to India in his Amravati Speech.”
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