Shocking and unsustainable: Supreme Court on NSA detention of Samajwadi Party's Yusuf Malik in revenue case

The Court ordered for the release of Malik, who has been in detention since last April, noting that the authorities had not applied their minds by invoking the NSA in the case.
Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently took exception to the Uttar Pradesh government detaining Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Yusuf Malik under the National Security Act (NSA) in connection with a land revenue recovery case [Yusuf Malik v. Union of India and ors].

A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said that the authorities concerned had not applied their minds by invoking the NSA in the case.

"...the exercise of the said Act in respect of the incident is shocking and unsustainable. That such a proposal was made, received the imprimatur of the senior officer(s) and even of the Advisory Board does not reflect well on the manner in which the authorities exercise their mind by invoking the provisions of the said Act...

...We find no element present in the case for exercise of this power of detention and extension of detention and have no hesitation in quashing the proceedings under the said Act as wholly without any basis. It is a clear case of non application of mind of all the authorities concerned," the Court observed in an order passed on April 11.

It, therefore, quashed the proceedings against the SP leader and asked the Registry to inform the same to the Rampur District Jail authorities so that he can be released immediately.

Malik was initially accused of restraining a man from paying land revenue to officials, and threatening them with sealing the residence in question. Two criminal complaints were lodged, but he was released on bail in both cases.

The Station House Officer (SHO) and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Moradabad subsequently made representations for initiating proceedings against Malik under the NSA. This was on an allegation that Malik had abused and threatened an Additional Municipal Commissioner, and thus, created an atmosphere of fear and terror in the civic body concerned.

On April 24 last year, the District Magistrate passed an order under the NSA for his detention and custody, with subsequent approval from the State Advisory Board under the Act.

The detention was later extended, with the Allahabad High Court not urgently disposing of Malik's Habeas Corpus plea.

The State government on January 17 this year extended his detention for twelve months from the date of actual detention.

The top court noted that there was, 'obviously', no practice of revenue officials going from one property to another to recover dues, which was done in Malik's case.

The Bench underscored that the NSA was enacted towards challenges in defence, security, public order and services essential to the community, and not for cases like the instant one.

“A reading of the statement of object and reasons of the Act would show that it was to control the anti-social and anti national elements including secessionist, communal and pro-caste elements, that affect the services essential to the community, thereby posing a grave challenge,” the Court said while quashing the detention.

Senior Advocate S Wasim A Qadri with Advocates Jubair Ahmad Khan, Tamim Qadri, Saeed Qadri, Shraveen Kumar Verma, Twinkle, Diwas Kumar, and Udita Singh appeared for Malik.

Additional Advocate General Ardhendumauli Kumar Prashad with Advocates Adarsh Upadhyay, Ashish Madaan, Shreya Srivastava, Aman Pathak, Pallavi Kumari and Ananya Sahu appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh.

[Read Order]

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