The Supreme Court today refused to stay the prosecution on sedition cases filed against radical Islamist, Sharjeel Imam, in 5 States clarifying that the plea before it is only for consolidation of FIRs.
The apex court two-member bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea by JNU student Sharjeel Imam seeking to club all FIRs filed against him for his speech during the anti-CAA protests in Delhi.
Senior Counsel Siddharth Dave representing Sharjeel Imam argued before the Court that there was an urgency in the case given that prosecution against Imam would begin in the States and the Court is scheduled to go on vacation in the next week. He said that the court had in the previous hearing issued notices to the five states and given them two weeks time to consolidate all the FIRs, but Dave said that none of the states complied by the SC orders hence he urged that the SC puts a stay on the prosecution.
The apex court, however, said that the case the court was hearing today was only for consolidation of FIRs. Hence it said it cannot pass any other orders. “But the case is only for consolidation of FIRs. We cannot pass any other orders”, said, Justice Bhushan, heading the Bench.
Dave urged the Court to consider the urgency involved. However, the Court categorically rejected to pass an interim order: “That is not the prayer before us… We cannot pass such an interim order”, said the two-member bench.
Keeping in view the scope of the plea before the Court, the Bench refused to grant a stay on the prosecution of Imam and directed the States to file their replies in a period of three weeks.
Radical Islamist Sharjeel Imam approached SC seeking clubbing of all the FIRs against him
On May 26, Sharjeel Imam had moved the apex court seeking the amalgamation of all FIRs filed against him in different states of India.
The petition had come up before a 3-Judge Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and MR Shah. Counsel appearing for the accused, Siddhartha Dave, reportedly cited the case of Arnab Goswami and the Aligarh Muslim University case to club all FIRs filed against Imam into one single case.
During the hearing, SC had directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi government, to file its response on Sharjeel Imam’s plea which sought the transfer of all criminal cases against him to the national capital and probe by a single agency.
It had then issued notice to the States of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh where the other FIRs were lodged against Sharjeel Imam.
Threats by Sharjeel Imam to ‘cut off’ Assam
Earlier, a series of videos had gone viral on social media in which Sharjeel Imam, the chief co-ordinator of Shaheen Bagh protest and a The Wire columnist was seen instigating Muslims of the country to break India by cutting of North-east from the rest of the country. While speaking to Muslim mobs, he said, “Our aim is to cut Assam and North-east India from rest of India”.
Arrested for Sedition
In January this year, Sharjeel Imam was arrested by the Police from Bihar’s Jehanabad. Sedition charges were filed against him in multiple states for his remarks urging Muslims to cut off North East India from the rest of the country by blocking the Chicken’s neck. The arrest was made by the Delhi Police Crime Branch after he was absconding for four days. A manhunt was launched after the video of his seditious speech went viral on social media.
Several states like Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh had filed FIRs against him under charges of sedition and other offences for his secessionist statements.