By Mavis D'Silva Sep. 01, 2020
The Allahabad High Court dismissed charges filed against Dr Kafeel Khan under the stringent National Security Act and ordered his immediate release. His speech during the anti-CAA protests does not “promote hatred or violence”.
The Allahabad High Court made a significant judgement today when it ruled that the Uttar Pradesh state government’s arrest and imprisonment of Dr Kafeel Khan under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) was illegal. The court directed the government to release Dr Khan, and barring a plea against the ruling by the state government in the Supreme Court, he will be a free man soon. His release comes after he spent over 200 days in Mathura Jail, after being arrested in January for a speech made in December last year.
Breaking: Dr Kafeel Khan Gets Relief From Allahabad High Court in NSA Case pic.twitter.com/h8lHonvrpX
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 1, 2020
Khan was charged under the NSA for his speech – which the government claimed posed a threat to law and order – at the Aligarh Muslim Univeristy during the anti-CAA protests. Under the NSA, the government can detain the accused for up to 12 months without charging them in court under suspicion that they could upset national security or public order. However, the HC said, “A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also nowhere threatens peace and tranquility of the city of Aligarh… It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for a few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent,” while also calling Khan’s detention illegal, stating that the evidence against him was insufficient to prove the government’s accusations.
No evidence, no links, principles of natural justice not followed, relevant materials not given: @Allahabad High Court declares detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under National Security Act (NSA) as "illegal".
HC orders for his immediate release after his unlawful detention since Jan.
— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) September 1, 2020
The release of Dr Khan has prompted a wave of appreciation for the Allahabad HC’s commitment to upholding civil liberties, which include the liberty to criticise the government. Journalist Rohini Singh said that it was a vindication for those who knew the case against Khan was a “fraud”.
The court has ordered that NSA charges against Dr Kafeel Khan be dropped. But Dr Khan has already spent more than 200 days in jail. Everyone knew the case against him was a fraud one. His only ‘crime’ was that he was Muslim and spoke out against a vindictive regime.
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) September 1, 2020
Srivatsa YB, a leader of the Indian Youth Congress, quoted Martin Luther King’s statement “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” while calling the judgement a “slap on the face” of the UP government under Chief Minister Adityanath.
After 214 days in jail & multiple bail hearing deferrals, Allahabad HC has finally dropped NSA charges against Dr. Kafeel Khan & ordered his immediate release.
It's a slap on the face of Adityanath's UP Govt.
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) September 1, 2020
Jignesh Mevani, a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Gujarat, also praised the ruling, but also called for action to be taken against the officials responsible for Dr Khan’s illegal detention.
Most elated to hear about brother Dr Kafeel Khan's release!
Allahabad HC has admonished UP government for wrongfully targeting him, but I demand that @myogiadityanath's officials are punished!
Also great news about Devangana Kalita's bail by Delhi HC!
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) September 1, 2020
Yogendra Yadav hailed the HC decision and reiterated that Dr Khan’s speech did not promote hatred.
Allahabad HC holds Dr. Kafeel khan's detention extension was ILLEGAL.
I was a witness to his speech. Court now affirms what I have been saying: his speech didn't promote hatred or violence. He opposed violence and gave a call for national unity.
Satyameva Jayate! pic.twitter.com/0GwPEzXUWe
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) September 1, 2020
Journalist Maneesh Chhibber viewed the announcement as a sign that the nation’s High Courts were committed to upholding citizens’ Constitutional rights, rather than toeing the executive’s line.
The Allahabad HC order in #drkafeelkhan case once again shows how, while SC isn't doing enough to uphold citizens' Constitutional rights, some HCs are still going by the book in following rule of law. Hope other too follow suit.
— Maneesh Chhibber (@maneeshchhibber) September 1, 2020
The Allahabad HC’s ruling is an encouraging sign to those in the country who have criticisms for the government. As Dr Khan’s judgement was being read, the Delhi high court also granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita in the Delhi riots case after the police failed to provide evidence.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 1, 2020
A great day for democracy.
September starts on a good note.
Allahabad High Court revokes use of National Security Act against Dr Kafeel Khan and orders his release.
Delhi High Court grants bail to Devangana Kalita in a Delhi riots case.
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) September 1, 2020