The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to Thwaha Fasal, a journalism student in Kerala, accused under the draconian UAPA for allegedly having Maoist links.
The bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay Sreeniwas was hearing the appeal filed by Thwaha, challenging the judgment of the Kerala High Court which set aside the bail granted to him by the Special NIA Court.
The Supreme Court has allowed Thwaha’s appeal and dismissed the appeal filed by the NIA, Live Law reported.
The Bench also confirmed the bail granted by the lower court and High Court to co-accused Allan Shuhaib, a third-year law student.
Senior Advocate Jayant Muth Raj, appearing for Thwaha, had mainly argued that the NIA’s chargesheet does not establish that the accused had the intention to further the activities of the Maoist group, so as to attract Sections 38 and 39 of the UAPA, reports Live Law. It was highlighted that the NIA has dropped Section 20 of the UAPA, which is the offence relating to membership of banned terror group, from the chargesheet.
Senior Advocate R Basant, appearing for Allan, argued that the ‘intention’ for offence under Sections 38/39 cannot be gathered from mere books or pamphlets.
Both students, from Kerala, were arrested in November 2019. The trial court had granted them bail, the Kerala High Court cancelled Thwaha’s bail while not interfering with Allan’s.
Kerala left government had come under heavy criticism when the Kerala police booked the case against students under UAPA. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended the arrest, stating that the two were not CPI(M) cadre but ‘Maoists’. Allan and Thwaha, who were both members of the CPI(M), were ousted from the party in February after they were arrested.
The chargesheet filed by the NIA accused the youths of harbouring and associating with banned Maoist outfit.