The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce Tuesday its order on the police’s revision plea against a trial court’s order discharging 11 accused, including Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar and Asif Iqbal Tanha in the 2019 Jamia violence case.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma had on March 23 reserved the judgement on the plea.
Violence erupted at Jamia Millia Islamia in December 2019 after a clash between the police and anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters.
During the last hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appeared for Delhi Police while different advocates represented the respondents, namely Imam, Tanha, Zargar, Abuzar, Umair Ahmed, Mohd Shoaib, Mahmood Anwar, Mohd Qasim, Mohd Bilal Nadeem, Shahzar Raza Khan and Chanda Yadav.
All 11 accused persons were discharged by the trial court on February 4, but it had, however, framed charges of unlawful assembly and rioting against Mohd Ilyas.
Before the bench of Justice Sharma on March 23, Jain had contended that the trial court (Saket court), “overstepped its jurisdiction” in passing “disparaging and gravely prejudicial observations” against the probe and the investigative agency, and said that the same ought to be expunged from the record.
ASJ Verma had pulled up police while discharging the accused persons, saying that police were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators behind the commission of the offence, but surely managed to rope in these 11 accused as “scapegoats”.
The bench had said: “The trial court judge has basically said you couldn’t bring anything on record for the court to believe that these persons were part of a crowd who committed an offence. They also raised the question that when there were so many people, why did you only pick up a few?”
Appearing for respondents Anwar, Raza Khan, Qasim and Umair Ahmed, advocate M.R. Shamshad submitted that the accused were merely bystanders and that the trial court had passed the right order of discharging them.
On behalf of student activist and JNU alum Imam, advocate Talib Mustafa submitted that there is no video clip or any single statement of witness against Imam in any of the charge sheets. Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Zargar, questioned the manner of her identification by police. She submitted that the person who was identified as Zargar from a video clip had a “face cover”, adding that no reason was given by the prosecution for concluding that it was her.