The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed an appeal of the Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad High Court order quashing Dr. Kafeel Khan’s detention under the National Security Act (NSA).
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which was hearing the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea challenging the high court’s September 1 verdict, said it is “a good judgment”. “We will not interfere in the judgment. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
Khan, a pediatrician at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital who had been placed under suspension, was arrested on January 29 for allegedly making the “provocative speech” during an anti-CAA protest and lodged at Mathura district jail. Charged under the NSA on February 13, his detention was extended twice. He was released in September this year.
Ruling that his address to students at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during the anti-CAA protests last December was “a call for national integrity and unity”, and not “any effort to promote hatred or violence”, the Allahabad High Court set aside the detention of Khan under the NSA.
In its order, the high court described the detention order under the NSA as “bad”, and based on “selective reading and selective mention of few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent”. The court also pointed to the two-month gap between the speech and the NSA charge, and that the order to extend the detention was not given to Khan.
The speech in question was delivered by Khan when he and Yogendra Yadav addressed a gathering of AMU students who were protesting against the CAA and proposed NRC. After the registration of a case against him under various IPC sections, Khan was arrested following which he applied for bail. The plea was allowed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Aligarh on February 10 but before the formalities for release could be completed, Khan was charged under the NSA.
(With inputs from PTI)