UAPA : Students Arrested For Alleged Maoist Links Move Kerala HC For Bail
Challenging the order of the Kozhikode Sessions Court which denied bail to Alan Suhaib and Thwaha Fazal for offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, they have filed appeals in the High Court of Kerala.
The single bench of Justice Sunil Thomas on Friday adjourned the hearing of the appeals till November 14, asking the prosecution to give their response in the meantime.
Alan and Thawaha, activists of Communist Party of India (Marxist), were arrested by Kozhikode police last Friday on suspected Maoist links.
The Kozhikode Sessions Court dismissed their bail applications observing that the books, pamphlets and banners claimed to have been seized from them by police prima facie showed their association with the banned Maoist organization.
The Sessions Court's order is challenged as 'illegal and irregular' on the ground that bail was denied without entering into any finding that they had taken part in any activities of the banned organization.
Regarding Alan, a 20 year old student of law, it is stated that no materials, except a mobile phone, was seized from him by the police, as clear from the seizure report. Without any incriminating materials, the Sessions Court could not have entered a prima facie finding that he was associated with the banned organization. The Sessions Court mixed up the facts of Alan's case with the case of Thaha, stated the appeal.
As regards Thwaha, a 25 year old student of journalism from whom books and materials were claimed to have been seized, the appeal stated the seizure was 'fictitious'. Even assuming that such books and pamphlets were actually seized from him, mere possession of literature containing ideology of banned organization will not amount to an offence under UAPA, contended the appeal. Reliance was placed on the SC decision in Arup Bhuyan v State of Assam and Indira Das v State of Assam, which held that mere passive membership of an organization cannot be construed as an offence under anti-terror laws, if there is no active commission or incitement of violence.
"Possession of literature of a banned organization or holding any revolutionary political philosophy not in tune with the Government cannot be construed as an offence, as it will go against the spirit of Article 19(1)(a) and (c) of the Constitution", stated the appeal filed through Advocate K S Madhusoodhanan.
The police also alleged that Thwaha had raised pro-Maoist slogans when he was arrested. Regarding this, the appeal stated that mere raising of slogans cannot be treated as an offence, referring to the Supreme Court precedent in Balwant Singh v State of Punjab.
The appellants are young students with no criminal antecedents, urged their appeals.