Kerala HC cancels bail of Thwaha Fasal held under UAPA

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(Eds: Adds details from court order, recasts intro, corrects names) Kochi, Jan 4 (PTI) Setting aside a Special NIA court order, the Kerala High Court on Monday cancelled bail granted to Thwaha Fasal, one of the two students arrested by the National Investigation Agency in November 2019 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links.

A Division Bench of the High Court, however, did not cancel the bail of Allan Shuaib, considering his young age and health.

Directing Fasal to surrender before the trial court, the high court also directed the NIA court to complete the trial in one year.

In the order, the bench, comprising Justices A Hariprasad and K Haripal, said when individual rights are pitted against national interest and security, the latter should prevail.

The court gave the verdict in an NIA plea challenging the order by the special court here in September last year, granting bail to Thwaha Fasal and Allan Shuaib.

'While considering the question whether there is prima facie material to infer commission of offence under Sections 38 and 39 of the Act, the court should have confined to the area of enquiry instead of going haywire.We have no doubt that rights and personal liberty are sacrosanct.Courts are bound to protect it.' 'At the same time, individual rights should subserve the national interest.When individual rights are pitted against national interest and security, the latter should prevail.In the result, the order of the trial court granting bail to the respondents cannot be sustained,' the court said.

However, considering the case of the first accused (Shuaib), the court did not propose to reverse the NIA court order observing that there are numerous mitigating circumstances in his favour including his age and health.

The court observed that on the date of detection of the crime, he was only 20 years old and materials seized from him are less serious, compared to the materials seized from the possession of the second accused (Fasal).

Cancelling the bail granted to Fasal, the court saidhe will surrender before the Special Judge forthwith, failing which the Special Court shall take steps to secure him in custody.

The court also observed that the second accused faces offence under Section 13 of the UAPA for having carried two banners seeking independence of Jammu & Kashmir.

'....We are unable to approve the argument of the learned counsel that this has to be viewed in the light of the protests emerged against the amendment of the Constitution which conferred status of Union Territory on Jammu & Kashmir.' 'In our view, the said documents carry the seeds of a secessionist ideology and the very Act is intended to compact such activities,' the court said.

The NIA court, while granting bail, had observed the petitioners did not have any influential background and belonged to middle class families.

'I don't find any danger of justice being thwarted by granting bail to the petitioners,' it had said.

Fasal and Shuaib, who are students of Journalism and Law respectively and CPI(M)'s branch committee members, were arrested on November 2, 2019 from Kozhikode, causing widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.

The police had allegedly seized objectionable printed and written materials from them which include violent exhortations for civil war, in tune with Maoist ideology.

According to the prosecution, such materials were more volatile, even exhorting secession of the country after liberating Jammu & Kashmir.

The CPI(M) in Kerala had expelled them from the party following their alleged link with Maoists.PTI COR TGB BN WELCOME BN WELCOME