The Delhi High Court has permitted the former JNU student Sharjeel Imam’ to withdraw his application for regular bail in a 2019 sedition case, while asking the trial court to first consider his application seeking relief under Section 436-A CrPC on the ground that he has remained in custody for 31 months in the FIR.
Under Section 436-A when a person can be released by the court on bail before the conclusion of trial if he has undergone an imprisonment of up to one-half of the maximum sentence specified.
The case against Imam for the speech he had delievered at Jamia Millia Islamia is registered at the NFC Police station.
Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta who passed the order on Monday said that the trial court should take into consideration the order by Supreme Court on keeping the offence of sedition in abeyance, while taking a decision on Imam’s application.
The bail was denied to Sharjeel Imam by the Saket Court earlier on the pretext that the tone and tenor of his ‘incendiary speech’ had a debilitating effect upon public tranquility.
As the bail plea by Imam is still pending before the High Court, He recently moved an application in trial court under Section 436A.
Sharjeel Imam has argued that since he has been incarcerated for about 31 months after being arrested in February 2020, he is entitled for the benefit of being released.
As per the section 436-A , Imam has already undergone detention for more than one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment under Section 153A of IPC. Section 153A provides for a maximum of three years of punishment.
The counsel of Imam said that trial court, while dismissing his bail plea, had only made observations against him with respect to offences under Section 153A and 124A of IPC and opined that no case was made out under other offences.
Advocate Ibrahim Mir who represented Imam argued that the only offence which now warrants consideration of the trial court is Section 153A .
While Mir sought asked for a clarification that the pendency of his bail plea in the High Court should not come in the way of deciding his application under Section 436A CrPC before the trial court.
The prosecution however submitted that the bail plea pending before High Court may be withdrawn in entirety, as it is wrong to consider the application under Section 436A CrPC in a piecemeal with reference to Section 153A of IPC.