Kafeel Khan free for months, nothing happened, Supreme Court tells UP

Supreme Court. File pic

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to interfere with the Allahabad High Court order, quashing the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) and directing the authorities to release him immediately.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the court does not see any reason to interfere with the judgement.

“This man is out for three months, nothing has occurred,” observed the bench while hearing the Uttar Pradesh government challenging the September 1 order of the High Court.

The top court, however, clarified the High Court order on preventive detention won’t impact pending criminal cases and they will be decided on own merits.

“We will not interfere in the judgement. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, submitted before the bench that the High Court observations will exonerate Khan in the criminal proceedings.

The bench, unmoved, replied that criminal cases will be decided on their own merits.

The High Court had quashed Khan’s detention under the NSA and passed directions for his immediate release, noting that his speech at the AMU did not promote hatred or violence, and instead emphasised on national integration. Allowing his mother Nuzhat Parveen’s petition, it said that the District Magistrate’s detention order was illegal as the official, while passing the detention order, ignored the true intent of Khan’s speech, and instead did a “selective reading” of his speech.

In 2017, the tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, where several children died due to a lack of oxygen cylinders, had brought Khan into spotlight. Khan was called as a saviour as he arranged emergency cylinders, but later faced action from the authorities.

Khan, along with nine other doctors and staff members of the hospital, were released on bail later.

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