Thursday, June 8, 2023

Delhi High Court reserves verdict on Delhi Police plea against discharge of Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar in Jamia Violence Case

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The Delhi High Court has reserved its verdict on the appeal by Delhi Police against the trial court order for discharging Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and eight others in the 2019 Jamia violence case.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma after hearing Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain make arguments for the Police has reserved the orders

Senior Advocate Rebecca John along with Advocates MR Shamshad, Talib Mustafa, Sowjhanya Shankaran and others appeared for the accused.

An appeal against the order of Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Arul Verma was filed by the Delhi Police after the judge discharged 11 of the 12 accused in the case.

Talking of this order the judge also pulled up the Police for filing an “ill-conceived” chargesheet and said that Imam and others were merely scapegoats.

 Judge Verma had said in his order that marshalling the facts as brought forth from a perusal of the chargesheet and three supplementary chargesheets, this Court cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the police were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators behind commission of the offence, but surely managed to rope the persons herein as scapegoats.

ASG Jain while arguing the case said that the trial court order was not sustainable and that the judge held a mini-trial at the stage of framing of charges.

The counsel also said that the visualisation or imagination of the trial court that these are students who are mere bystanders is completely belied by the videos shown by the Delhi Police

He added that the key issue is joint liability of the accused, which makes every member of the unlawful assembly constructively liable.

Lawyers appearing for the respondents contended that most of them are university students who were exercising their democratic rights and were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Senior Advocate John argued that the person who has been identified as Safoora Zargar had covered face .

She questioned how did the Police identify the person whose face was not visible so clearly.

She added that Zargar was a student of Jamia and so it is perfect fine if she was present in the area.

Advocate MR Shamshad, appearing for four of the respondents, stated that Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was not in force in the Jamia Nagar area when the people started gathering, and therefore, there was no illegal assembly.

Advocate Shamshad said it is the Article 19 which allows right to protest. It can only be regulated by imposing Section 144 CrPC. But this was not done. This was imposed only in the area around Parliament, not in Jamia Nagar.

Justice Sharma after hearing the arguments, Justice Sharma reserved her judgement. She asked the counsels appearing for all the parties to file their written submissions in the matter as well.

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