Being Maoist not a crime: Kerala HC

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In a landmark ruling, the Kerala High Court today said that being a Maoist is not a crime and police cannot detain a person merely because he is a Maoist.

“Being a Maoist is of no crime, though the political ideology of Maoists would not synchronise with our constitutional polity. It is a basic human right to think in terms of human aspirations,” it said.

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“… If the individual or organisation abhors and resorts to physical violence, law agency can prevent or take action against individuals or organisations,” Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said in his judgement in a case relating to the arrest of Syam Balakrishnan by Kerala Police’s special squad, suspecting that he is a Maoist.

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“It is only when private thoughts or ideas become repugnant to public values as envisaged under law that the private activities become unlawful,” the court ruled.

The Court noted that it was the Constitution which sets the boundary through legitimate procedure of ordinary law on arrest, the court said, “Therefore, police cannot detain a person merely because he is a Maoist, unless police form a reasonable opinion that his activities are unlawful.” Disposing the case, the court ordered payment of Rs 1 lakh compensation to Balakrishnan within two months. The state has also been directed to pay the litigation cost of Rs 10,000 along with the compensation quantified.

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