March 15, 2021 9:12:50 pm
Noting the submission that former Aligarh Muslim University student leader, Sharjeel Usmani, booked for allegedly delivering a provocative speech at Elgaar Parishad on January 30, was cooperating with investigators and should appear before police on March 18, the Bombay High Court on Monday adjourned the hearing on his plea to next Monday.
The court said it will examine Usmani’s entire speech and accepted assurance by the state government that no coercive action would be taken against him till next hearing if he fulfils procedure as per the notice issued to him under the Code of Criminal Procedure and follows the Supreme Court’s guidelines to comply with obligations to the investigators.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing Usmani’s pleas that the FIR lodged against him in Pune at the “behest” of a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader was a “political gimmick”.
Following a complaint lodged at the Swargate police station on February 2 by lawyer Pradeep Gawade, the Pune regional secretary of the BJYM, Pune Police booked Usmani under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to Section 41 A of the CrPC, a person need not be arrested as long as he or she was cooperating with the police’s probe. In case one is required to be arrested, the police must give prior notice.
On Monday, senior counsel Mihir Desai for Usmani told the court that his client attended the Swargate police station for interrogation on March 10 and said he would continue to cooperate with the probe. Desai added that it was merely a speech and there was no riot after that. Therefore, the offences of public disharmony were unfounded, he said.
The court said it will go through the long speech and directed Usmani to visit the police station on Thursday and posted further hearing of the petition on March 22.
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