Published on: October 30, 2022 at 20:55 IST
The Delhi High Court deferred the hearing of Sharjeel Imam‘s bail application on Friday after his counsel requested it, noting that the bench made “some observations” qua him in the decision denying bail to co-accused Umar Khalid “without his (Imam’s) appeal having been heard.”
Imam’s bail appeal, which is now pending before the division of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar, will now be heard on December 16.
In the adjournment application, Imam’s lawyers Talib Mustafa and Ahmad Ibrahim stated that court is necessary on him to seek further legal counsel and examine the prospect of legal remedies before his bail appeal is heard.
“We have no problem adjourning the case…. the application is based on an allegation. It cannot be recorded. It cannot be a ground to say that you are seeking legal counsel in another matter. It cannot be done in this manner.”
“You request an adjournment simplicitor, and we may consider but not make legal arguments before you ask us to adjourn an issue. We are willing to hear you at any moment, but please do not record this….. Can it be done?” enquired Justice Mridul.
The court stated in its judgment, “SPP Amit Prasad does not object to Advocate Ahmad Ibrahim, counsel standing on behalf of the appellant, requesting an adjournment. The hearing on the appeal has been postponed. List after six weeks on December 16 at the particular request of counsel acting on behalf of the appellant.”
On October 18, a special bench of Justices Mridul and Bhatnagar refused to grant bail to Khalid in the case. The Delhi Police have used the harsh provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against him and other campaigners.
The court cited Imam’s name 17 times in the bail judgement while examining the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police.
The bench stated in the decision that Imam “arguably is at the top of the Conspiracy,” and phrases like “principal conspirator” have been used to describe him.
“Having heard learned counsel for the parties and carefully gone through the charge-sheet, and taking into consideration the fact that the Appellant [Umar Khalid] was in constant contact with other co-accused persons, including Sharjeel Imam, who arguably is at the head of the Conspiracy; at this stage, it is difficult to form an opinion that there are not reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the petitioner is prima facie not proved,” the bench said.
Rejecting an argument that there was no ideological convergence between Khalid and Sharjeel Imam, the court also stated that it finds “it a little difficult” to accept the claim because all of the defendants share a number of similarities.