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Delhi HC reserves order on Sharjeel Imam's plea against granting more time to file chargesheet

ANI | Updated: Jun 25, 2020 17:55 IST

New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its order on a plea filed by JNU student Sharjeel Imam, who was arrested for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during protests against CAA and NRC, challenging a trial court order that granted more time to Delhi Police to complete the investigation and file chargesheet in the case.
A bench of Justice V Kameshwar Rao, after hearing arguments from both the sides, also asked the lawyers to send their written submission by June 27 evening.Senior advocate Rebecca John, representing Sharjeel Imam, argued that the trial court order ought to be set aside as the accused/applicant was not given notice of the application under Section 43D Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
She pointed out that the accused has not even been produced before the court for subsequent remands, every fifteen days as per the mandate of Section 167 (2) (b) Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC).
Rebecca said that the application moved by the police is devoid of the genuine "compelling reasons" that are required to be disclosed for extension of time beyond 90 days.
She submitted that it is unclear why the supposed 'careful' analysis took 88 days or what additional facts have been discovered subsequent to the eight days of police custody to merit invocation of UAPA on the 88th day of custody.

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Aman Lekhi, representing Delhi Police, submitted that the probe in the matter has been badly hampered due to the pandemic.
"The investigation doesn't happen through video conferencing. The seizures, searches, movement, almost every part of the probe has been hit badly due to the pandemic," Lekhi said adding that no enactment has been violated nor has any rights been infringed upon.
Lekhi also submitted that the substantial grievance of the petitioner is that no notice was given to the petitioner. He stated that the accused is presently lodged in Assam Jail and due to lockdown, the production of the accused was not feasible.
Delhi Police, in its recent reply, had opposed the Imam's plea stating that the accused, by way of his speech, was addressing a particular religious section of the society and creating disaffection towards the government by creating the unfounded fears in their minds regarding Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
As per the rules under the CrPC, a chargesheet needs to be filed within 60/90 days as per the offence, however, for UAPA cases, agencies have 180 days to file the chargesheet.
Sharjeel Imam was arrested by the Delhi Police on January 28 from Bihar for allegedly delivering a seditious speech and abetting riots in Jamia Millia Islamia area in December last year. (ANI)