Jamia violence case: HC issues notice against discharge of Sharjeel

The Delhi High court issued a notice on the appeal moved by Delhi Police against the discharge of Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and eight others in the Jamia violence case of 2019.
Delhi High court
Delhi High courtANI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High court issued a notice on the appeal moved by Delhi Police against the discharge of Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and eight others in the Jamia violence case of 2019.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma issued notice to some respondents as some of them appeared on advance notice. However, the high court summoned the trial court record (TCR) in digitised form.

Though the HC has refused the observations made by the trial court judge, it said the observations will not affect further investigation that the police undertake or the trial of any accused in the matter.

While the HC has not summoned the case diary, it was submitted by one of the counsels that the TCR and case diary may be summoned. The trial court made some serious remarks while discharging the accused persons on February 4.

The trial court record has been summoned in digitised form. The observations have not been expunged. The ASG, appearing for Delhi Police, said the observations were misconceived and will prejudice further investigation.

The matter was listed for further hearing on March 16. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain argued that the observations made by the trial court are misconceived and prejudicial to further investigation.

ASG submitted that there was an FIR and one main charge sheet and three supplementary chargesheets. The third chargesheet was disregarded by the trial court on the basis of reasoning, which is misconceived in law, he said.

On the other hand, the counsel for Asif Iqbal Tanha argued that the supplementary charge sheet was filed to fill the lacunae of the investigation. She also argued that there is a difference between dissent and peaceful protest.

The persons named in the second charge sheet were students of Jamia Milia Islamia University, therefore, their presence was not unusual there. The Delhi High court on Friday allowed the urgent listing of the plea.

The division bench headed by chief justice Satish Chandra Sharma allowed the urgent listing of the matter on Monday. The matter was mentioned by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who urged the bench to list the matter urgently.

Delhi Police have moved the HC against the discharge granted to Sharjeel Imam and other accused in the Jamia Violence case.

It is submitted that the Impugned Order is null and void, non-est and in the teeth of well-settled principles of law, the Delhi Police said in its plea.

"Vide the said order, not only has the Trial Court discharged the Respondents but also swayed by emotional and sentimental feelings, it cast aspersions on the prosecuting agency and passed gravely prejudicial and adverse remarks against the prosecuting agency and the investigation," it stated.

The trial court, while not considering and weighing the evidence on record, proceeded to discharge the respondents at the stage of framing of charges, the Delhi Police stated further, adding that the trial court erred in not only holding a mini-trial at this stage but also recorded perverse findings which are contrary to the record to arrive at the finding that a case of discharge was made out against the respondents.

"It is submitted that a bare perusal of the Impugned Order would reveal that Trial Court has proceeded to make observations on the merits of the matter. It is also submitted that at the stage of discharge, the Trial ought to have only merely to sift the evidence in order to find out whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused," the plea stated further.

"In other words, the sufficiency of grounds would take within its fold the nature of the evidence recorded by the police or the documents produced before the court which ex facie disclose that there are suspicious circumstances against the accused so as to frame a charge against him," the petition stated.

"It is further submitted that while exercising its judicial mind to the facts of the case in order to determine whether a case for trial has been made out by the prosecution, the Trial Court ought not to enter into the pros and cons of the matter or into a weighing and balancing of evidence and probabilities which is done at the stage of the trial," it added.

Delhi's Saket court on February 4, discharged Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and other eight accused in the Jamia Milia Islamia University violence case registered in 2019.

However, the court had directed framing of charges against Mohd. Iliyas alias Allen in the matter. The trial court had said the accused were made scapegoats in the matter. It added that police had no evidence against the accused persons.

This case pertains to violence at Jamia and its surrounding areas in December 2019. Violence erupted after a clash between people protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the police.

Sharjeel was granted bail in 2021. A case was registered at Jamia Nagar Police Station in connection with the violence on December 13, 2019. Delhi police named 12 persons as accused in the case.

Delhi police charged the accused with rioting and unlawful assembly while also booking them under IPC sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 333, 308, 427, 435, 323, 341, 120(B) and 34. Sharjeel, however, will remain in custody as he is accused in a larger conspiracy in the Delhi riots case and a sedition case.

His bail in the larger conspiracy and sedition cases was dismissed by the Karkardooma court.

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