SC grants bail to student detained under UAPA in Kerala over Maoist links
Granting bail to a Kerala youth detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in November 2019, for alleged Maoist links, and affirming a trial court’s order granting bail to his co-accused, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday that “mere association with” or “mere support” to “a terrorist organisation is not sufficient” to prove the offence under the Act. The association and support have to be with motive of furthering the activities of a terrorist organisation,it said.
Thwaha Fasal and Allan Suhaib, both students, were detained by the Kerala police in November 2019. The case was later handed over to the NIA. In September 2020, the NIA court had permitted them bail, saying the agency had failed to establish a prima facie case against them.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and A S Oka allowed Fasal’s appeal against the Kerala High Court’s order which set aside the bail granted by the NIA court. It also refused the NIA’s appeal against the HC order upholding the bail granted to Suhaib.
The SC said the NIA court had noted that there was no prima facie material to prove intention on the part of both the accused to further the activities of the terrorist organisation.
The court also relied on a before judgment which said bail could be granted in such cases where there is a possibility of the trial not getting over in a reasonable time. It said there are 92 witnesses in the case and “even assuming that some of the witnesses may be dropped at the time of trial, there is no possibility of the trial being concluded in a reasonable time as even charges have not been framed”.