Madras HC Grants Bail to Muslim Youth Framed under UAPA, Sets Precedent

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“The provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been included only in order to deny/delay the appellant from getting bail,” a two-judge bench of the high court observed.  

Syed Ali Mujtaba

CHENNAI – The Madras High Court, on August 27, granted bail to Sadam Hussain of Coimbatore, who was under judicial custody since March 7 in a UAPA, case. The Muslim youth has been accused on two counts; the First relates to terrorist activity and the second of threatening to kill an elderly Hindu man for objecting to his son’s conversion to Islam for marrying a Muslim girl (love jihad reverse).

The Coimbatore city police had arrested Sadam Hussain on the basis of his alleged confession of being a terrorist after he was picked up for questioning during a vehicle check at the junction of Indira Nagar and Amul Nagar First Street Coimbatore. The police initially booked the appellant under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but later, the provisions of the Arms Act were included after the reported recovery of three bill books on the basis of the alleged confession of the accused.  

The Court observed that by no stretch of imagination could such an accusation be termed a terrorist act as defined under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

A Bench of the high court comprising Justices S Vaidyanathan and A D Jagadish Chandira pointed out, “There was no complaint from any person, and nobody was injured in this case… The provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been included only in order to deny/delay the appellant from getting bail.”

Allowing an appeal against a sessions court’s refusal to grant bail, the judges wrote, “Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case… and on a perusal of the case diary, this court is of the opinion that the allegations against the appellant do not fall within the definition of ‘terrorist act’ and there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation is prima facie true.”
The same Bench heard another charge leveled against the accused Sadam Hussain that he was planning to murder an elderly man, Kumaresan, who objected to his son’s conversion to Islam for marrying a Muslim girl.

“There were no reasonable grounds for believing that the appellant had conspired to kill Kumaresan, who had opposed his son’s conversion to Islam to marry a Muslim woman,” the judges observed.

The judges added, “Subsequently, the police arrested the mother of the Muslim woman whom Kumaresan’s son had married, and on the basis of her confessions the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was included.”

The judges also took note of the submission of the Special Public Prosecutor for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), R Karthikeyan’s comment that the Coimbatore police had sent a proposal asking the NIA to take up the investigation in the case, but the agency refused to do so.

“The refusal of the NIA to take up the case for the investigation itself “speaks much about the case of the prosecution,” the Bench said while granting bail to Sadam Husain.

Well, such judgment serves as precedence for many UAPA cases slapped on hundreds of Muslim youths across India. This judgment also serves as a reference to those who are booked during the CAA protest in 2020-21. With this judgment of granting bail to a UAPA accused the case of other such accused to get bail becomes strong.

What is needed is upright judges who can look at the merit of the case and decide why justice is being denied to several Muslim youths in the country.
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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com

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