Justice Siddharth Mridul recuses himself from hearing bail plea of IM operative arrested under UAPA
Justice Siddharth Mridul of Delhi High Court recused himself from hearing the bail petition of an alleged Indian Mujahideen operative on Tuesday, who has remained in jail for more than nine years in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In August 2013, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested IM suspect Manzer Imam, alleging that he had conspired with others to carry out terrorist acts in prominent places in the country.
The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh was to hear the bail application of Imam, who was recently denied bail by the trial court, today.
Charges were yet to be framed in the case.
Justice Mridul expressed his difficulty in hearing the appeal, observing that in some of the bans imposed on the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for a period of two years, he was a Senior Counsel for the government.
The Judge ordered that the matter be listed before another bench subject to obtaining necessary orders of the Chief Justice. The Bench then listed the matter for hearing on January 13.
In October last year, the Single-Judge Bench had asked the Special Court to hear and dispose of Imam’s bail application within a period of 75 days.
Appearing for Imam, Advocate Kartik Purushottama Murukutla submitted that the accused has been in custody for a period of nine years. The Counsel said that the arguments of charges had again begun in the matter.
An FIR was registered against Imam under Sections 17, 18, 18B and 20 of UAPA and Section 121A and 123 of the Indian Penal Code.
In 2021, Imam had moved another plea before the High Court, seeking day-to-day hearing in his case before the trial court, claiming that many accused in NIA cases were languishing for years in jail without completion or expeditious trial, which was in violation of their fundamental right to a speedy trial.
(Case title: Manzer Imam vs National Investigation Agency)