Engineer Rashid to Take Oath as MP on July 5 After NIA Consent

Engineer Rashid

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has consented to allow jailed Kashmiri leader Abdul Rashid Sheikh, also known as Engineer Rashid, from Baramulla to take the oath as a Member of Parliament (MP) on July 5 in Parliament.

However, the NIA’s counsel stated in court that this consent should be subject to certain conditions, including a prohibition on Rashid interacting with the media. Rashid, who won the recent Lok Sabha elections from the Baramulla constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, was unable to take the oath during the official ceremony of the 18th Lok Sabha. He won the elections from Baramulla while in custody in an NIA case and has sought interim bail or custody parole to take the oath as a Lok Sabha MP.

The Patiala House Court’s special judge, Chander Jit Singh, will issue an order on Rashid’s bail plea today. Engineer Rashid has been in custody for the past five years in a terror funding case filed by the NIA. He defeated former CM Omar Abdullah from Baramulla in the recent general elections.

Proposed Dates for Oath-Taking

The NIA’s counsel proposed three dates, July 5 to 7, for Rashid to take the oath, with Rashid’s defense counsel, Vikhyat Oberoi, agreeing to July 5, as July 6 and 7 are holidays. Rashid’s counsel also requested the court to allow him to obtain his Identity card and CGHS card and to facilitate opening a bank account. Additionally, they have asked for the presence of family members at the time of taking the oath.

On June 22, the vacation judge’s court granted time to file a response to Rashid’s application. The NIA sought additional time to file a reply, citing the matter under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Advocate Vikhyat Oberoi, representing Rashid, argued that Rashid won with a substantial majority and that the people want him to serve in Parliament democratically.

Coordination with Lok Sabha Secretariat

The court may direct the jail authorities to contact the Lok Sabha Secretariat, instruct the NIA to coordinate with the Secretariat, or direct the Lok Sabha Secretariat to specify a date for Rashid to take the oath. Oberoi also referenced orders from the Rouse Avenue Court and Patna High Court, which directed jail authorities to facilitate the oath-taking process for accused individuals.

Previous Court Directives

On June 18, Delhi’s Patiala House court directed the NIA to inform which of the three proposed dates Rashid could take the oath and granted time for NIA to file a reply. The scheduled dates for newly elected MPs to take the oath were June 24, 25, and 26. The NIA had requested time to arrange the logistics for Rashid’s transportation to Parliament if bail was granted.

However, the defense counsel cited a previous order from the Rouse Avenue Court in Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh’s case and argued that Engineer Rashid is in court custody, thus the NIA should not be involved in transporting him to Parliament. Rashid subsequently approached the court seeking bail to take the oath as an MP.

On June 5, ASJ Singh requested a response from the NIA regarding Rashid’s case. Advocate Vikhyat Oberoi informed ANI that an application for interim bail or, alternatively, custody parole to take the oath and perform other parliamentary functions had been filed. The matter was addressed by the court and listed for a response from the NIA, according to Oberoi. He also noted that Rashid, a two-time MLA, now needs to take the oath as an MP following his election victory, although the date for the oath ceremony has not yet been declared.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte