Allahabad High Court orders Dr. Kafeel Khan’s release, says his speech did not promote violence


The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday said that the draconian National Security Act invoked against Dr Kafeel Khan for his speech against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University was simply ‘not sustainable in law’ as it ordered his release. Dr. Khan has been kept in Mathura Jail for the last seven months. He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police at the behest of the Yogi Adityanath government from Mumbai in January.

The Allahabad High Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh came down heavily on the government as it said, “… we are having no hesitation in concluding that neither detention of Dr. Kafeel Khan under National Security Act, 1980 nor extension of the detention are sustainable in the eye of law.”

The high court, according to Bar and Bench website, added, “The order of detention dated 13th February, 2020 passed by District Magistrate, Aligarh and confirmed by the State of Uttar Pradesh is set aside. The extension of the period of detention of detenue Dr. Kafeel Khan is also declared illegal. A writ in the nature of habeas corpus is hereby issued to release Dr. Kafeel Khan, the detenue from State custody forthwith.”

The Supreme Court on 11 August had asked the Allahabad High Court to decide within 15 days on the plea seeking the release of Dr. Kafeel Khan.

The Allahabad High Court said that even prima facie, Dr. Khan’s speech did not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. ‘It also nowhere threatens peace and tranquillity of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens. The speech also deprecates any kind of violence,” the court said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Khan’s release has evoked strong reactions from netizens with many questioning the BJP government’s decision to harass its critics by sending them to jails.