Ghazala Ahmad | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Irfan Shaikh, who had been arrested under draconian anti-conversion law and was accused of ‘waging a war against India’.
A two-judged bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia said that Irfan Shaikh has been in custody for over a year while the trial in the case has not begun.
Advocate Saif Ali, one of the lawyers representing Shaikh in the case told Clarion India, “The charges invoked against Irfan were unwarranted and he has been granted bail.”
The apex court stated, “But having regard to the role attributed to the appellant by the prosecution in the commission of the alleged offences, we do not think further detention of the appellant pending trial is necessary”.
It further stated, “We, accordingly, set aside the impugned order and direct that the appellant shall be released by the said Court on such terms and conditions the said Court may impose”.
Shaikh was booked under several charges which include, Section 120B, 121A, 123, 153A, 153B, 295A, 298 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code and several sections of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act.
The Anti-Terror Squad claimed that it had received information about some “anti-national elements” and religious organisations who were converting people to Islam at the direction of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and other religious organizations reported Live Law
Shaikh’s bail application was rejected by the Allahabad High Court in April and then he approached the Supreme.
Further, Shaikh has been suggested by the court to not enter Uttar Pradesh, except when he has to appear for trial.
Several noted Muslim scholars and activists were arrested and lodged in jail in the same case including Maulana Umar Gautam and Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui.