Kerala HC cancels bail granted to journalism student Thwaha Fasal in UAPA case

Photo: Shafeek Thamarassery/DoolNews

The Kerala High Court on Monday set aside the order passed by by Special NIA Court Kochi granting bail to Thwaha Fasal in a UAPA case for alleged Maoist links, Live Law reported.

The High Court however has not cancelled the bail granted to Allan Shuhaib, who was also arrested along with Thwaha in November 2019.

According to Live Law, a division bench comprising Justices A Hariprasad and K Haripal allowed the appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency against the September 9 order passed by Special NIA Court, Kochi, granting bail to Thwaha, student of journalism. The High Court said that it was not interfering with the bail granting to Allan Shuhaib at the moment, considering his young age and also different degree of involvement.

The High Court has directed Thwaha to surrender before the trial court.

The High Court has also set aside the finding of the trial court that no prima facie case was made out against the accused.

In September 2020, the NIA Court observed that the NIA failed to establish a prima facie case under the UAPA against both the accused, law student Allan Shuhaib (20) and journalism student Thaha Fasal (24).

The Court noted the mere possession of books on Communist ideology, Maoism, class struggle, etc., does not prove anything adverse against the accused.

“Since there is not even a single allegation of violent overtact against the accused, at this stage, possession of an internal document of the banned organisation, to the most, only indicate a leaning on the side of the accused towards this banned organisation,” the Court said in the judgment.

“There are no reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations are ‘prima facie true,” the Court said.

The duo were arrested by Pantheerankavu police in Kozhikode in November 2019 for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist posters.

In the case, NIA had submitted chargesheet against them invoking offences under Sections 38 and 39 of the UAPA which deal with association with a terrorist organization and supporting it with the intention to further its activities and uner Section 13 of the UAPA (punishment for unlawful activity) and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (criminal conspiracy).

Kerala left government had come under heavy criticism when the Kerala police booked the case under UAPA. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended the arrest, stating that the two were not CPI(M) cadre but ‘Maoists’. Allan and Thaha, who were both members of the CPI(M), were ousted from the party in February after they were arrested.