Allahabad High Court orders release of Dr Kafeel Khan, revokes NSA charges

The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier extended his detention by three months till November 13.
Dr Kafeel Khan (Photo | EPS)
Dr Kafeel Khan (Photo | EPS)

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dropped the NSA charges against Dr. Kafeel Khan who was detained for his speech during anti-CAA protests on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus on December 12 last year.

The court said that the prosecution could not produce corroborative evidence to show that Khan’s speech promoted any kind of hatred or violence in Aligarh.

After his arrest from Mumbai airport by UP STF on January 29, 2020, the Aligarh district administration had invoked the NSA (National Security Act) against the paediatrician. However, the court said that imposing the stringent act and the period of his dentition were illegal based on the grounds submitted by the authorities.

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Govind Marhur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh allowed the habeas corpus writ petition filed by the doctor’s mother Nuzhat Perween seeking his release claiming that Khan’s speech did not intend to promote any kind of hatred or violence. “A writ in the nature of habeas corpus is hereby issued to release Dr. Kafeel Khan, the detenue from state custody,” read the order.

“A complete reading of the speech also nowhere threatens peace and tranquility of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens.”

Also, according to the habeas corpus petition, the doctor was granted bail by a competent court after his arrest by UP STF on January 29, 2020, and he was supposed to be released on bail. However, he was not released for four days, and later the NSA was imposed on him in the month of February. Hence, his
detention was illegal as it was passed to nullify the effect of the bail granted by a competent court.

The bench observed: “The state authorities have failed to discharge their bounden burden to establish that the lecture delivered by Khan on December 12, 2019, has such a deleterious effect on the public order in Aligarh as had continued to exist up to February 13, 2020, necessitating preventive detention of the detenue on that later date.”

The bench also observed that the appellant was denied the opportunity to seek court’s intervention against his detention under NSA as “ the orders of the extension of detention were never served upon the detenue. Only radiograms relating to the decision of the state government for the extension of the term of detention were supplied to him.”

The judges said in the order: “We are having no hesitation in concluding that neither the detention of Dr. Kafeel Khan under National Security Act, 1980 nor extension of the detention are sustainable in the eye of law.”

Khan had earlier got embroiled in the case related to the death of around 70 kids allegedly due to the shortage of oxygen supply at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur on August 10-11, 2017.

While initiating disciplinary action against those who were at the helm in the medical college for dereliction of duty, Dr. Kafeel Khan along with BRD Medical College principal Dr. RK MIshra and a few other personnel of the medical college was suspended on August 22, 2017.

The suspension was followed by the registration of a criminal case against nine persons including Dr. Kafeel Khan, Dr. RS Mishra and his wife and all were arrested. The proceedings are still going on in the case.

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