Kerala High Court frees 34 KAAPA detainees, cites illegal detention

KAAPA is a special law enacted by the state government in 2007 to curb anti-social elements.
Representative image
Representative image

KOCHI: At a time when the state police are on a vigorous drive to put habitual offenders behind bars under KAAPA as part of curbing anti-social activities, the Kerala High Court in over a month alone has ordered to release of 34 persons after finding that their detention was illegal. Apart from preventive detention, the court also cut short externment ordered against persons under KAAPA for involvement in multiple criminal cases.

KAAPA is a special law enacted by the state government in 2007 to curb anti-social elements.

As per the data presented in the state assembly recently, 1,028 persons were charged with KAAPA in the past three years. However, a glance at the judgments of the Kerala High Court available on its website from May 20 to June 29 alone reveals that a majority of KAAPA cases were disposed of by the court after cancelling detention and internment orders.

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According to the details on the website, 69 judgments were pronounced by the division bench comprising Justice A Muhammad Musthaque and Justice S Manu based on petitions challenging KAAPA. Of these, KAAPA detention was set aside by the court in 34 cases. In 23 cases, the externment was cut short by the court. Petitions challenging KAAPA were dismissed by the court only in 12 cases.

Advocate Hanis M H, who appeared on behalf of petitioners detained under KAAPA in the Kerala High Court, said that KAAPA orders were cancelled by the court in most cases due to the absence of ‘Live Link’ and considering the nature of offences for which the special law is evoked. According to Hanis, police personnel lack training in handling KAAPA. It is evident in most of the cases.

An SP-ranked officer, who doesn’t want to be named, said that preparing a KAAPA proposal is a time-consuming process as all details against an accused have to be collected. “We mostly invoke KAAPA against persons who are regularly into goonda, theft, robbery and drug-peddling activities. However, after submitting the KAAPA proposal against a person, the detention order is issued several weeks later. No innocent person has been detained under KAAPA so far,” he said.

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