A three-judge Supreme Court Bench of Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose dismissed Akhil Gogoi’s plea challenging the Gauhati High Court’s order rejecting his bail application, reported LiveLaw.
Earlier this year, the Gauhati High Court had denied him bail on grounds that the materials relied upon by the prosecution prima facie showed that Gogoi had not only led the anti-citizenship law protests, but had provoked people to join him. The court also observed that upon directions issued by him, the supplies essential to life of the community of the country was disrupted in the state.
On February 11, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta (appearing for Gogoi) submitted that large scale agitation had taken place while protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act but it was not related to terrorism. He contended that there were some instances of violence but no evidence on record to show that the petitioner was responsible.
According to LiveLaw, the Bench did not accept this submission and remarked, “Cannot consider bail in light of the allegations as of now. Maybe later, you can file an application. Let the trial proceed. Courts have started functioning now”.
The High Court by its order dated January 7, 2021, had observed that it cannot conclusively be said that the appellant (Gogoi) has been “unreasonably deprived of the right of Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.
Justices Kalyan Rai Surana and Ajit Borthakur of the High Court Bench also held that Akhil Gogoi’s call was “instrumental in violent protests, and damage or destruction to vehicles of military and paramilitary forces, which were to be used for defence of the country.”
It is noteworthy that on February 5, the same Bench of the Gauhati High Court rejected the bail pleas of two booked under UAPA in connection with the citizenship protests. It held that brandishing swords, burning down of railway stations and vandalism constitutes a “terrorist act” under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The order may be read here: