Sharjeel, Safoora, 7 others charged for rioting, unlawful assembly
Partially over turning the trial court order, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday charged Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar and seven other accused under sections related to rioting, unlawful assembly, obstructing the public servant, damaging Properties and other sections.
The High court said the accused were part of unlawful assembly and raising slogans and they had broken the first line of barricade and turned violent. They assaulted the police personnel during the protest, they climbed the barricades, the High court said.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma on Tuesday while partially setting aside the order said, " While there is no denial of the right to freedom of expression, this Court remains aware of its duty and has tried to decide the issue in that way. Right to peaceful assembly is subject to restriction. Damage to property and peace is not protected."
The high court also said there is electronic evidence consisting of video clips in which some of the accused are seen in a video clip.
The high court framed charges against Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, Mohd Qasim, Mahmood Anwar, Shahzar Raza, Umair Ahmed, Mohd Bilal Nadeem and Chanda Yadav under Sections 143, 147, 149, 186, 353, 427 of the Indian Penal Code, as well as sections of the Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act.
Accused Mohd Shoaib and Mohd Abuzar were charged under Section 143 IPC, and discharged from all other offences, the High court said. Asif Iqbal Tanha has been discharged from Sections 308, 323, 341 and 435 IPC. He has been charged under other sections.
Advocate Ahmad Ibrahim counsel for Sharjeel Imam said that they will challenge the order. Delhi Police had moved against the discharge of Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and 8 others in the Jamia violence case of 2019.
The trial court had made some serious remarks while discharging the accused persons on February 4. Trial court record has been summoned in digitised form. The observations has not been expunged.
The ASG appearing for Delhi police had said that the observations were misconceived and will prejudice the further investigation. The matter is listed 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 charge sheet. The third charge sheet was disregarded by the trial court on the basis of reasoning which is misconceived in law.
On the other hand, the counsel for Asif Iqbal Tanha argued that the supplementary charge sheet were filed to fill the lacunae of the investigation. She also argued that there is a difference between the dissent and peaceful protest. The persons named in the second charge sheet were students of Jamia Milia Islamia University. Therefore there presence was not unusual there.
It was submitted that the trial court Order is null and void, non-est and in the teeth of well settled principles of law. It was stated that vide the said Order, not only has the Trial Court discharged the Respondents but also swayed by emotional and sentimental feelings, it castaspersions on the prosecuting agency and passed gravely prejudicial and adverse remarks against the prosecuting agency and the investigation.
The Trial Court while not considering and weighing the evidence on record has proceeded to discharge the respondents at the stage of framing of charges, 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.
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 thatthere 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 trial.
Delhi's Saket court on February 4, discharged Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and other 8 accused in Jamia Milia Islamia University Violence case registered in 2019. However, the court had directed to frame charges against Mohd. Iliyas alias Allen in the matter.
The trial court had made serious remarks in the case. The court had said that the accused were made scapegoats in the matter. The court had said that police had no evidence against the accused persons.
This case pertains to violence in Jamia and surrounding areas in December 2019. Violence was erupted after a clash between people protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and police. Sharjeel was granted bail in 2021.
A case was registered at Jamia Nagar Police Station in connection with violence broke out on December 13, 2019. Delhi police had made 12 persons accused in the case. Delhi police alleged offences of rioting and unlawful assembly and Section 143, 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 333, 308, 427, 435, 323, 341, 120B and 34 of IPC were invoked in the FIR.