The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal against Allahabad high court’s decision to set aside detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under National Security Act (NSA).
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, however, clarified that the observations made by the Allahabad high court in its September 1 decision will not impact the outcome of the criminal cases against Khan. These cases, the bench said, will be decided on own merits.
Khan, a paediatrician whose brush with controversy began with the 2017 Gorakhpur hospital tragedy in which more than a hundred children died reportedly due to shortage of oxygen and he was suspended, was booked under the NSA last year over an allegedly inflammatory speech against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
After severely indicting the state government for booking Khan under the NSA, the Allahabad high court had in September quashed the detention order and allowed the habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Nuzhat Parween.
Khan was released after spending seven months in jail.
Challenging this order by the high court, the central government and the Uttar Pradesh government have jointly filed an appeal, maintaining that Khan flouted prohibitory orders and delivered a provocative speech to AMU students with an attempt to disturb law and order in Aligarh by inciting Muslim students against other communities.
The petition added that Khan’s speech, on December 13, 2019, incited about 10,000 AMU students to march towards Aligarh city.
The plea further stated that Khan has a history of committing various offences, which had led to disciplinary action, his suspension from service, registration of FIRs against him and the invocation of the NSA.