Respond to anti-CAA activist’s appeal, court tells Delhi govt.

Club all sedition cases filed in various States, says petitioner

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Delhi government to respond to a plea made by anti-Citizenship Amendment Act activist Sharjeel Imam to club the five sedition cases registered against him in different States and to have them investigated by a single agency.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan gave the Delhi government 10 days to file a response even as it said there was nothing wrong in the registration of an FIR if the police had information about a cognisable offence.

Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, for Mr. Imam, referred to how the top court had urgently heard the case of journalist Arnab Goswami even as it stayed all multiple FIRs against him except for the one in Nagpur, which was shifted to Mumbai. Mr. Dave asked why his client, whose personal liberty was also at stake, should not be provided with a similar relief.

Mr. Dave, in a hearing held through videoconferencing, said FIRs were registered against his client in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. He has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Mr. Imam was arrested by Delhi police’s Crime Branch on January 28 from Jehanabad in Bihar for allegedly making inflammatory speeches in Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh, during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) Centre for Historical Studies has been booked on sedition and other charges after videos of his alleged inflammatory speeches were circulated on social media.

With inputs from The Hindu