Judge recuses himself from hearing Jamia violence case, cites 'personal reasons'

Student activists Sharjeel Imam and Asif Iqbal Tanha were discharged by a trial court in the 2019 Jamia Nagar violence case on February 4

(L-R): Asif Iqbal Tanha and Sharjeel Imam
(L-R): Asif Iqbal Tanha and Sharjeel Imam
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NH Digital

A Delhi court judge, who recently discharged student activists Sharjeel Imam and Asif Iqbal Tanha along with nine others in the 2019 Jamia Nagar violence case, has recused himself from hearing a similar matter citing "personal reasons".

Additional Sessions Judge Arul Varma was hearing a case regarding the violence in Jamia Nagar in December 2019 which was registered against several accused, including Tanha.

"Due to personal reasons, the undersigned hereby recuses from hearing the matter. Accordingly, let the present matter be put up before the principal district and sessions judge, southeast district, Saket court, for February 13 at 12 pm with a request to transfer the matter," the judge said in an order passed on Friday.

Last Saturday, while discharging the 11 accused in the other case, the judge had said that legal proceedings were initiated in a "perfunctory and cavalier fashion" and "allowing them to undergo the rigmarole of a long-drawn trial, does not augur well for the criminal justice system of the country".

In his order, the judge said that the Delhi Police roped in the activists as scapegoats as they were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators.

The judge added that there was no prima facie evidence that the accused persons were part of the mob violence, had any weapon, or were throwing stones.

He also Varma referred to Article 19 of the Constitution of India, and said, “Dissent is nothing but an extension of invaluable fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. It is therefore a right which we are sworn to uphold.”

Delhi Police had registered an FIR in connection with the violence that erupted after a clash between police and people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December 2019.

The accused in the present case also include Meeran Haider, Ashu Khan, Qasim Usmani, Mohammad Hassan, Mohd Jamal, Mohd Sahil Muddassir, Faheem Hasmee, Sameer Ahmad, Mohd Umar, Mohd Adil, Roohul Ameer, Chandan Kumar and Saqib Khan.

The Jamia Nagar police station had registered an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty). 

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