UP: After 14 months of incarceration, court quashes NSA charge against six Muslim men

A division bench of Allahabad High Court on Friday quashed the charges invoked under the National Security Act (NSA) against six anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district, terming the administration’s NSA orders “illegal.”

The bench of Justices Sadhna Rani and Sunita Agarwal observed that the saffron party-led government failed to comply with the mandatory provisions of the NSA and to provide the relevant material to invoke the NSA charges against all these six detainees.

“It is, thus, clear that the satisfaction recorded by the detaining authority was not based on the objective criteria by application of its independent mind. The incorporation of non-existent and misconceived ground in the material placed before the detaining authority to influence its decision to pass the order of detention would make the detention order invalid. The flaw in the decision-making process in recording satisfaction by the detaining authority without verification of the information supplied to it makes the whole process illegal,” observed Allahabad High Court while quashing the detention orders.

Amir Shabbir, Shahryar, Abdul Wahab, Asif Chandan, Anas, and Faizan were accused of involvement in violence during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December 2019. The Muslim men are from the Mau district. Dakshinatola police station had filed the FIR and detained them in June last year. Following the arrest, six separate habeas corpus were filed in the court.

Talking to Maktoob, Mandar Kamal, brother of Amir, said that his 24-year-old brother was released in September this year after remaining 14 months and 10 days in jail. First, the Goondas Act was invoked against him and then, he was arrested under the NSA.

Kamal said that he was wrongly implicated in the case as he was not even a part of the protest. When Amir was crossing the road, he was captured in the video being recorded by the police personnel.

“These boys were innocents and imprisoned without any basis,” said Kamal, who was following his brother’s case.

“We are obviously happy that the charges invoked against him have been quashed. But what about the losses and troubles we went through. We are being persecuted because we are Muslims.”

Reacting to the clean chit given to him, Amir Shabbir said that he is happy that charges against him were quashed. Now, the Muslim man asked as to who would compensate the losses incurred on him. Amir told Maktoob that his father died due to a heart attack after he heard about his imprisonment.  

Reacting to the judgment, lawyer Nazrul Islam Jafri, who represented all six Muslim men, said: “It was a landmark judgment. The charges invoked against the six men were illegal and wrong.”

The court found “the subjective satisfaction recorded by the District Magistrate to arrive at the conclusion of detaining the petitioners is not based on any relevant material which would form objective criteria to reach the decision.”

Regarding the compliance of the mandatory provisions of the NSA, the court observed “the stringent provisions of the National Security Act resulting in curtailment of personal liberty of a person guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India have to be strictly complied with. The deadlines have to be strictly obeyed. The delay caused on account of any indifference, slackness, or callous attitude of the authority/Government at any stage of the decision-making process, if remained unexplained, cannot be condoned. The representation of the detenues in any case, has to be considered at the earliest, as soon as may be, without any delay.”