- Apprentice Lawyer
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Allahabad High Court order which had quashed Dr. Kafeel Khan’s detention under the National Security Act (NSA) dismissing the Uttar Pradesh government's appeal against the order.
A three-judge judge bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that there was no reason to interfere with the September 1 order of the High Court which had set aside Khan's detention.
"We see no reason to interfere," the court said dismissing the appeal filed by Uttar Pradesh government.
The Court, however, clarified that other criminal cases against Khan will be decided on its own merits.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh of the Allahabad High Court had allowed the writ petition filed on behalf of Dr. Khan by his mother Nuzhat Perween and quashed Khan's detention.
"... we are having no hesitation in concluding that neither detention of Dr. Kafeel Khan under National Security Act, 1980 nor extension of the detention are sustainable in the eye of law", the High Court had held.
Dr. Khan was detained under NSA and lodged in Mathura jail for an allegedly provocative speech at the Aligarh Muslim University in the backdrop of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Interestingly, the High Court had noted in its judgment that contrary to claims by the State that Khan's speech called for violence and hatred, it actually called for national integrity and unity.
Perween had initially approached the Supreme Court which asked her to move the High Court. Since the listing of case before High Court got delayed, the Supreme Court on August 11 asked the High Court to decide the plea within 15 days.
In light of the fact that this matter involved Khan's personal liberty, the same must be disposed of expeditiously, the top court had ordered.
Subsequently, the Allahabad High Court had promptly taken up the case and ordered Khan's release.
The High Court had found that prima facie, Dr. Khan's speech "does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also no where threatens peace and tranquillity of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens. The speech also deprecates any kind of violence."
"The writ petition for the reasons given above is allowed. The order of detention dated 13th February, 2020 passed by District Magistrate, Aligarh and confirmed by the State of Uttar Pradesh is set aside. The extension of the period of detention of detenue Dr. Kafeel Khan is also declared illegal. A writ in the nature of habeas corpus is hereby issued to release Dr. Kafeel Khan, the detenue from State custody forthwith," the High Court judgment said.
The High Court had also noted that Dr. Khan was not been given proper opportunity to give a representation against his detention. In this regard, it was found that neither was he given a transcript of the speech on the basis of which he was detained nor was he given a device to play a CD of the speech.
"Such non-supply of material violates a precious fundamental right of a detenue enshrined under Article 22 of the Constitution. On this count also the detention of Dr. Kafeel Khan deserves to be set aside", it had said.
Moreover, the High Court had also found that Dr. Khan was not served the orders extending his detention either. The High Court had, therefore, proceeded to rule that both Dr. Khan's detention and the extension of this detention was unsustainable in law.