J’khand HC grants bail to UAPA accused as no link to Al-Qaeda established

The Maulana has been in custody for more than 14 months and was finally granted bail as investigation could not establish basic facts


The Jharkhand High Court has granted bail to a Maulana as he was charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA]. The police made out a case that the co-accused met at the house of the Maulana, the petitioner and he received money from Gujarat for committing anti-national work, being a “jihadi”. And thus, arrested him on September 9, 2019 and he has since been in custody.

Maulana Kalimuddin Muzahiri was arrested and charged under sections 121 [Waging, or attempting to wage war against the state], 121(A) [Conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121], 124(A) [sedition], 120-B [criminal conspiracy], 34 [Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention] of the Indian penal Code (IPC) read with Sections 25(1-B)a [in possession of firearms], 26 [secret contraventions], 35 [Criminal responsibility of persons in occupation of premises in certain cases] of Arms Act, Sections 16 [terrorist act], 17 [Punishment for raising funds for terrorist act], 18 [Punishment for conspiracy], 18-B [Punishment for recruiting of any person or persons for terrorist act], 19 [Punishment for harbouring], 20 [Punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation], 21 [Punishment for holding proceeds of terrorism], 23 [enhanced penalties] of U.P.A. Act and Section 17 of C.L.A. Act.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that during the investigation police did not follow through the investigation about the money sent to the petitioner or about any anti-national work being carried out by the petitioner.

The single judge bench of Justice Kailash Prasad Deo accepted the counsel’s contention and agreed that no material has been collected with regard to involvement of the petitioner in any activities of Al-Qaeda outfit, nor Investigating Officer has collected any material with regard to the money given to this petitioner by any Organization, who was involved in unlawful activities.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is a national security legislation that gives unbridled powers to the government authorities to detain an individual based on vague and arbitrary grounds such as “in the interest of national security”. After invoking multiple stringent charges against the Maulana, the police were ultimately unable to submit any proof to establish the severe and grave allegations made against the petitioner who had to stay on in prison for about 14 months due to some misguided investigation or merely prejudiced biases of the investigating personnel. One cannot even fathom how many such weak cases of UAPA are waiting to be unravelled before some court of law where the court finds that there was, in fact, no case made out against the accused during the investigation. While the law enforcement agencies wash their hands of such cases after the bail is made, the personal and social life of the accused person effectively stands to be ruined. The law enforcement agencies are not required to establish a substantial case against anybody before deeming them to be involved in terrorist activity which effectively has made the law to be a tool of intimidation against the weaker sections of the society.

The Sessions court in Delhi has had a pattern of denying bails to persons allegedly involved in the north-east Delhi riots of February 2020 basis the accused persons’ act of blocking the road. Individuals like Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita, Asif lqbal Tanha were denied bail by the same court in Delhi pertaining to the Delhi riots case for the exact same reason. In an analysis piece done by SabrangIndia it was found that bails under UAPA were granted on basis of logic and of a reasoned and sound order, with basis on rule of law and precedents set out by the Supreme Court. So, most commonly, an order granting bail under UAPA is found to be more reasoned and based on rule of law than orders of denial of bail which seem mechanical in approach and rely solely on prosecution’s version and witness statements in the case.

During the monsoon session of the Parliament, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was forced to reveal data related to UAPA cases as questions were put forth during the session. The MHA presented data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2018 report “Crimes in India”. As per NCRB’s 2018 report, between 2016-18 a total of 3,974 persons were arrested under UAPA and 3,005 cases were registered. Out of these, only 821 chargesheets were filed in three years, i.e. 2016-18.

The court order may be read here.



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