No UAPA charges for mere support to terror outfit: SC

Mere support to terror outfit sans intention or overt acts not sufficient for charges under UAPA: SC

Two students from Kerala, arrested for allegedly being members of banned organisation CPI (Maoist) two years ago, got bail today

The Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed bail to two students from Kerala who were arrested for allegedly being members of a banned organisation, CPI (Maoist) two years ago, saying at a formative young age, they might be fascinated by the outfit's ideology but there was no record of their active participation in its activities.

"Mere association with a terrorist organisation and mere support given to a terrorist organisation is not sufficient. The association and the support have to be with intention of furthering the activities of a terrorist organisation," a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S Oka said.

The court allowed an appeal filed by Thawah Faisal, a student of journalism through a distance education programme, against the High Court's judgement setting aside bail granted to him by the Special NIA court.

The court also dismissed an appeal filed by the Union government against the High Court's order confirming bail to another accused Allen Shuaib, a law student.

Both the accused, chargesheeted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the NIA, were arrested on November 1, 2019, within jurisdiction of Pantheerankavu Police Station in Kozhikode.

In its judgement, Justice Oka, writing on behalf of the bench, said fascination of CPI (Maoist) ideology may explain possession of various documents and books related to it in soft or hard form.

"Prima facie there is no material in the charge sheet to project active participation of the accused in the activities of CPI (Maoist) from which even an inference can be drawn that there was an intention on their part of furthering the activities or terrorist acts of the terrorist organisation," the bench said. 

The court noted that no overt act, on their part, showing the presence of the required intention or state of mind and, their constant association or support of the banned organisation for a long period of time was borne out from the charge sheet.

It also pointed out the special court, while enlarging the accused on bail had imposed most stringent conditions, such as furnishing of bail bonds of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties each for the like amount with a further condition that one of the sureties shall be one of the parents of the accused and the other surety, shall be a relative of the accused. 

There was a condition imposed of marking attendance on every first Saturday of every month at local police station. There was also a condition that the accused would not associate in any manner or support in any manner activities of CPI (Maoist) and all its formations, the bench said. 

Check out DH's latest videos

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox