Dr Kafeel Khan, lodged at the Mathura jail in Uttar Pradesh since January 29, has been released late on Tuesday night following the order by the Allahabad High Court.
Earlier in the day, the High Court dismissed charges filed against Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) and ordered his immediate release. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Govind Mathur and comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Khan’s mother Nuzhat Parveen, who sought his release on grounds that he had been detained illegally.
In her petition, Parveen said her son had been granted bail in February, but the NSA was invoked against him before he could be released. Parveen said he was not released for four days after he was given bail, therefore making his detention illegal.
डॉ कफील खान जेल से रिहा हुए।
न्याय की जीत हुई। pic.twitter.com/KXCvJsfH8w
— UP Congress (@INCUttarPradesh) September 1, 2020
Khan was accused of delivering a provocative speech at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on December 10, 2019 during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests.
In mid-August, the UP government extended Khan’s detention by another three months.
आज इलाहाबाद हाई कोर्ट ने #drkafeelkhan के ऊपर से रासुका हटाकर उनकी तत्काल रिहाई का आदेश दिया।
आशा है कि यूपी सरकार डॉ कफील खान को बिना किसी विद्वेष के अविलंब रिहा करेगी।
डॉ कफील खान की रिहाई के प्रयासों में लगे तमाम न्याय पसंद लोगों व उप्र कांग्रेस के कार्यकर्ताओं को मुबारकबाद
Quashing Khan’s detention order, the court said, “A complete reading of the speech primafacie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also no where threatens peace and tranquility 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.
“It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent.”
The court further said in the instant case, the “causal link is found to be missing or completely broken”.
“In absence of any material indicating that the detainee continued to act in a manner prejudicial to public order from December 12, 2019 up to February 13, 2020 or that he committed any such other or further act as may have had that effect, the preventive detention order cannot be sustained,” it said.
“In fact, the grounds of detention are silent as to public order at Aligarh being at risk of any prejudice in February 2020 on account of the offending act attributed to the detainee on the date December 12, 2019,” it added.
Terming the extension of Khan’s detention period as illegal, the court said, “The writ petition for the reasons 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,” it said.
Hailing the Allahabad High Court directive, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said she hoped the Uttar Pradesh government would immediately release him “without any malice”.
“The Allahabad High Court today ordered the removal of NSA and immediate release of Dr Kafeel Khan,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet. “It is expected that the UP government will release Dr. Kafeel Khan without any malice,” she said.
Priyanka said she also congratulated all the “justice loving people” and party workers in the state who had been making efforts for Khan’s release.
Khan first hit headlines after the 2017 tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, where several kids died due to lack of oxygen cylinders. While he was hailed as a saviour for the children for arranging emergency oxygen cylinders, he later faced action along with nine other doctors and staff members of the hospital for irregularities in the conduct of their duty. All of them were released on bail.
(With inputs from PTI)