New Delhi: A Delhi Court Saturday discharged former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam and co-accused Asif Iqbal Tanha in a case related to the incidents of violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University in December 2019.
Additional Sessions Judge of Saket court, Arul Verma passed the order.
“It would be pertinent to underscore that dissent is nothing but an extension of the invaluable fundamental right to Freedom of Speech and Expression contained in Article 19 of the Constitution of India, subject to the restrictions contained. It is therefore a right which we are sworn to uphold.” stated the judge.
“When something is repugnant to our conscience, we refuse to obey it. This disobedience is constituted by duty. It becomes our duty to disobey anything that is repugnant to our conscience,” said the court.
In the statement, the Additional Sessions Judge quoted Chief Justice of India Justice D Y Chandrachud’s recent statement which says, “The destruction of spaces for questioning and dissent destroys the basis of all growth – political, economic, cultural and social. In this sense, dissent is a safety valve of democracy.”
Notably, the Jamia violence had erupted after a clash between Police and people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Both Imam and Tanha were charged under multiple Sections of the Indian Penal Code related to rioting and unlawful assembly.
The court framed charges of unlawful assembly and rioting against one of the co-accused named Mohammed Iliyas.
However, Imam, who is also an accused under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in the conspiracy case related to the 2020 “North-East” Delhi riots case, will remain in custody.
A detailed order is awaited.