Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Sharjeel Imam In 2020 Delhi Riots Case

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In a notable legal development, the Delhi High Court has granted bail to Sharjeel Imam, a prominent figure accused in the 2020 Delhi riots case, on Tuesday. Imam, who has been in custody since January 28, 2020, secured bail in a case that involved serious allegations of sedition and activities deemed unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

A bench comprising Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain ruled in favor of Imam's appeal, which argued that he was eligible for statutory bail. Imam's defense highlighted that he had been in custody for four years and pointed out that the maximum sentence for the offence under Section 13 of the UAPA, if convicted, is seven years. The court acknowledged the duration of his custody as a significant factor in their decision to grant bail.

Imam was initially arrested by the Delhi Police's Special Branch on charges of sedition. The charges were later escalated to include Section 13 of the UAPA, which pertains to unlawful activities. His bail had been previously denied by the trial court on February 17, 2020. The trial court had cited the potentially seditious nature of his speeches against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as a primary reason for the denial.

Despite this recent grant of bail, Imam will not be released immediately. He remains incarcerated due to a pending bail plea in a broader conspiracy case linked to the 2020 riots. This larger case is also under the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court and continues to be a significant legal hurdle for Imam.

The 2020 Delhi riots marked a grim chapter in the city’s history, with communal violence erupting in Northeast Delhi in February 2020. The unrest, which was ignited by protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), led to the deaths of over 50 individuals and left hundreds injured. The riots caused extensive property damage and heightened communal tensions across the region.

Sharjeel Imam, a vocal critic of the CAA, gained notoriety for his speeches that were interpreted by some as inciting violence and promoting sedition. His arrest and subsequent legal battles have been closely watched as part of the broader narrative surrounding the CAA protests and their aftermath.

The Delhi High Court's decision to grant bail to Imam underscores the ongoing complexities and legal challenges in the aftermath of the 2020 riots. As the judicial processes continue, the case remains a pivotal issue, reflecting the intense socio-political dynamics that have characterized recent years in India.

While Imam’s release on bail marks a significant milestone, the final resolution of his legal battles and the broader conspiracy case will be critical in shaping the narrative and legal precedent surrounding the events of February 2020.