PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered immediate release of Dr Kafeel Khan, who has spent more than seven months in prison for his public address against CAA and NRC outside the Aligarh Muslim University campus, saying the detention of the paediatrician under the National Security Act (NSA) for his alleged hate speech was “bad” and “unsustainable in the eye of the law”.
In a strongly-worded verdict that indicted the authorities for slapping NSA on Khan on a “whim” and for invoking charges against him for acting against national integration, the court said his December 12 speech did not promote hatred or violence. The court said that contrary to the allegations against Khan that his speech threatened the peace and tranquility of Aligarh, his address gave a call for national integrity and unity and deprecated “any kind of violence”.
Giving the verdict on a habeas corpus writ petition filed by Khans mother, the bench of Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh set aside the Aligarh DMs order of detention under NSA dated February 13 while declaring “illegal” the subsequent extensions of the detention. An Aligarh court had granted bail on February 10 to Khan but he could not be released from Mathura jail as the DM had added charges under NSA against him.
On Khans alleged hate speech, the court observed, “The speaker (Khan) was certainly opposing the policies of the government and while doing so, certain illustrations are given by him, but that nowhere reflects the eventualities demanding detention. A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence.”
Criticizing the DM for his detention order, the court said: “It appears that the district magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent.”
Questioning the Aligarh administrations move to make Khans speech a ground for his detention, the bench asked why it took two months after the AMU address for the district authorities to add charges under NSA against him. “At that time, the sole action taken was the lodging of a criminal case against Khan pertaining to offences under Section 153A (promoting enmity) of IPC,” the court said, adding that “some offences were subsequently added to it…”
There was no move to include NSA charges even when an application for getting the accused released on bail came to be accepted by the chief judicial magistrate, Aligarh, on February 10, 2020, the court said, adding, “It was only after the his release order was passed on February 12, three police officials made a request to the district police chief to approach the DM for invocation of the NSA and the order of his further detention was serRead More – Source