The Supreme Court on Friday sought Delhi government's response over a petition filed by JNU scholar Sharjeel Imam to get all FIRs against him clubbed and probed by a single agency. The apex court has asks the state government to reply within 10 days. On Wednesday, the Delhi Police invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against Sharjeel, who was arrested for allegedly giving a seditious speech and abetting violence at Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019.
Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, representing Sharjeel, contended before a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna that five FIRs have been registered based on the same speech in Delhi, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, the Delhi police have also invoked UAPA.
Dave sought clubbing of FIRs and cited relief given by the top court in the matter of Arnab Goswami. "Give me relief like Arnab Goswami", submitted Sharjeel's counsel seeking clubbing of FIRs.
The apex court had stayed numerous FIRs against Goswami in different states for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Sonia Gandhi. The court allowed the probe in one FIR by Mumbai police.
"There is nothing wrong in police registering FIRs. If they come to know about some cognizable offence," said the bench and queried whether there is a counsel representing Delhi government. The court fixed the matter for further hearing after 10 days.
The court asked Sharjeel's lawyer to serve a copy of the petition to the Delhi government, and sought its reply on the matter.
Sharjeel was arrested on January 28 from his hometown Jehanabad in Bihar by Delhi Police for allegedly making the controversial "cut off Assam" statement, leading to sedition charges.
On April 18, the Delhi Police had filed a supplementary chargesheet against him.
"On December 15 last year, serious riots had broken out in consequence of the protest march organized by Jamia students against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) in the area of PS New Friends Colony and Jamia. The mob indulged in large scale rioting, stone-pelting and arson, and in the process destroyed many public and private properties. Cases of rioting, arson and damage to public properties were registered in both the police stations. Many policemen and public persons were injured in the riots," the Delhi Police had said in a statement.