Allahabad High Court order to free Kafeel good: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the Allahabad High Court verdict quashing the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) and ordered his immediate release, saying it was “a good judgement”.
“We will not interfere in the judgment. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the bench comprising Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian.
The bench was hearing the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea challenging the high court’s September 1 verdict.
Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state, told the bench that the observation made by the high court exonerates Khan in the criminal proceedings.
“Criminal cases will be decided on their own merits,” the bench observed.
Khan had hit the headlines after the 2017 tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, in which several children died because of the lack of oxygen cylinders.
Initially, he was hailed as a saviour for arranging emergency oxygen cylinders but later faced action along with nine other doctors and staff members of the hospital, all of whom were released on bail later.
A state government probe cleared Khan of all major charges, prompting him to seek an apology from the state. Khan had alleged that an institutional failure had led to the deaths of the children.
In its September 1 verdict, the high court had quashed Khan’s detention under the NSA and ordered his immediate release, saying his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests didn’t promote hatred or violence and gave a call for national integrity.
The high court had said the Aligarh district magistrate, who had passed the order for Khan’s detention, did a “selective reading” of his speech, “ignoring its true intent”.
The high court had allowed the petition filed by Khan’s mother, Nuzhat Parveen, and said the detention order by the district magistrate was illegal.