NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 1—The Allahabad High Court that dropped charges under National Security Act (NSA) against Dr. Kafeel khan and ordered his release on Tuesday, has observed that Dr. Kafeel Khan’s speech at Aligarh on December 13, 2019, during the anti-CAA protests, “does not promote hatred or violence. It gives a call for national integrity and unity among citizens”.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh held that prima facie the speech of Dr. Khan is such that no reasonable person would draw a conclusion that has been drawn by Aligarh district magistrate who passed detention orders of Dr Kafeel Khan under NSA in February this year.
“A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also nowhere threatens peace or tranquility of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among citizens. The speech also deprecates any kind of violence. It appears that the District Magistrate had a selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent”, the judgement observed.
The bench further observed, “The speaker was certainly opposing the policies of the government and while doing so, certain illustrations are given by him, but that nowhere reflects eventualities demanding detention”.
The bench observed that the state government has completely failed to establish the charges levelled against Dr. Kafeel that became the ground for his detention under NSA.
The high court also said that there was no evidence to link between Dr. Kafeel Khan’s speech and what happened subsequently on December 13 and 15, 2019.
Dr. Khan was arrested on January 30 this year on charges of giving provocative speech at Aligarh during anti-CAA protests in December 2019.
Dr. Khan was, however, granted bail on February 10 by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Aligarh but he was not released. Charges under NSA were slapped against on him on February 15 by Aligarh District Magistrate and since then, he has been languishing in Mathura jail.
The high court observed that when the alleged provocative speech was delivered by Dr. Kafeel Khan, the district magistrate of Aligarh surprisingly did not find the speech sufficient for his preventive detention. The district magistrate initiated action under NSA only after the CJM granted him bail.
“Nothing has been said in the order of detention or the grounds for detention that district administration had any information within the period from December 12, 2019 to February 13, 2020 about any effort made by the detenu to cause even a simple scar to the peace or tranquility or public order of the city of Aligarh. It is only after the passing of the bail order by the chief judicial magistrate, Aligarh, the police officials and district magistrate, Aligarh, initiated the process for detaining Dr. Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act, 1980. At the cost of repetition, it would be appropriate to state that from December 12, 2019 to January 29, 2020 the detenu was roaming free and he had ample time to make all the efforts to damage public order in the city of Aligarh, if he was intending to do so”, the court noted.