The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the Allahabad supreme court verdict quashing the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) and ordered his immediate release.
A bench headed by judge S.A. Bobde, which was hearing the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea challenging the high court’s September 1 verdict, said it seemed to be an honest judgment.
“It seems to be an honest order by supreme court …We see no reason to interfere with the high court order,” CJI Bobde said, consistent with LiveLaw.
When lawman Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh , told the bench that observation made by the supreme court exonerated Khan within the criminal proceedings, the apex court said the observation didn’t impact the criminal case.
“We won’t interfere within the judgment. However, the observation won’t impact the other proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian.
The CJI denied senior advocate Indira Jaising’s request to expunge the observation on the judgment not impacting prosecution .
“Criminal cases are going to be selected their own merits. The observations during a preventive detention judgment cannot impact prosecution ,” the bench added.
The Uttar Pradesh government had filed a special leave petition within the Supreme Court against the high court’s judgment, delivered by a bench of judge Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, who had held that the doctor’s detention, was “not sustainable within the eye of law”.
The supreme court also noted that the Aligarh district magistrate had quoted selectively from a speech given by Khan at the Aligarh Muslim University to justify his detention, “ignoring its true intent” which wasn’t to market hatred.
The order came after the Supreme Court on August 11 had asked the supreme court to make a decision on the plea for Khan’s release within 15 days.
Khan was released from the Mathura Jail on September 2.
Khan had hit the headlines after the 2017 tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, during which several children died thanks to a scarcity of oxygen cylinders. Initially lauded for arranging emergency oxygen cylinders, he later faced action along side nine other doctors and staff members of the hospital, all of whom are out on bail. A report published on The Wire, by Manoj Singh, essays how investigation into the tragedy was controversial and in places, scuttled.