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SC grants bail to students arrested under UAPA in Kerala over Maoist links

Observing that the accused might have been fascinated by CPI (Maoist) at a formative young age, a bench comprising justices Ajay Rastogi and A S Oka granted relief to Thwaha Fasal and Allan Shuaib who were apprehended on November 1, 2019.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
October 28, 2021 10:31:25 pm
CPM leader contradicts Pinarayi on arrest of party workers under UAPA chargesAlan Shuhaib and Thwaha Fasal (File)

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to two students arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links saying mere association with a terrorist organisation is not sufficient to attract the stringent provisions under the Act.

Observing that the accused might have been fascinated by CPI (Maoist) at a formative young age, a bench comprising justices Ajay Rastogi and A S Oka granted relief to Thwaha Fasal and Allan Shuaib who were apprehended on November 1, 2019.

“Mere association with a terrorist organisation is not sufficient to attract Section 38 (Offence Relating to Membership of a Terrorist Organisation) and mere support given to a terrorist organisation is not sufficient to attract Section 39 (Offence Relating to Support Given to a Terrorist Organisation). The association and the support have to be with intention of furthering the activities of a terrorist organisation,” the bench said.

The apex court said that in a given case, such intention can be inferred from the overt acts or acts of active participation of the accused in the activities of a terrorist organisation which are borne out from the materials forming a part of the charge sheet.

“At a formative young age, the accused might have been fascinated by what is propagated by CPI (Maoist). Therefore, they may be in possession of various documents/books concerning CPI (Maoist) in soft or hard form,” the bench said.

The apex court said that apart from the allegation that certain photographs showing that the accused participated in a protest/gathering organised by an organisation allegedly linked with CPI (Maoist), prima facie there is no material in the charge sheet to project active participation of both the accused in the activities of CPI (Maoist).

“An allegation is made that they were found in the company of the accused no.3 (C P Usman) on November 30, 2019. That itself may not be sufficient to infer the presence of intention. But that is not sufficient at this stage to draw an inference of the presence of intention on their part which is an ingredient of Sections 38 and 39 of the 1967 Act.

“Apart from the fact that overt acts on their part for showing the presence of the required intention or state of mind are not borne out from the charge sheet, prima facie, their constant association or support of the organization for a long period of time is not borne out from the charge sheet,” the bench said.

The top court directed that Fasal be produced before the Special Court within a maximum period of one week from today to enable him to complete the bail formalities by furnishing the fresh bonds.

“We also make it clear that all the conditions imposed by the Special Court are restored,” it said.

The apex court clarified that the observations and findings recorded in this 46-page-judgement are only for the limited purposes of considering the applications for bail made by the two accused.

“The Special Court shall not be influenced by the said observations and findings while applying its mind to the question of framing charge as the considerations for framing charge are different. The Special Court will not be influenced by the observations made in this Judgment during the trial of the case,” it said.

The apex court also dismissed the appeal filed by the Union of India challenging the Kerala High Court judgement affirming the trial court’s order granting bail to law student Shuaib in a UAPA case registered over an alleged Maoist link

The division bench of the high court had refused to cancel the bail of Shuaib, the second accused, considering his young age and health.

Fasal and Shuaib, who are students of Journalism and Law respectively and CPI(M)’s branch committee members, were arrested on November 2, 2019, from Kozhikode, causing widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.

The police had allegedly seized objectionable printed and written materials from them which include violent exhortations for civil war, in tune with Maoist ideology.

The CPI(M) in Kerala had expelled them from the party following their alleged link with Maoists.

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