Libertatem Magazine

UAPA Cannot Be Used When the Accused Does Not Have an Active Knowledge of the Offence: Delhi High Court

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Justice Suresh Kumar Kait held that the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act cannot be charged on the accused when he does not have any knowledge of the offence committed.

Brief Facts of the Case

The Petitioner Faizan Khan and his co-accused were accused of part of one conspiracy in the Delhi riots. He facilitated in obtaining a SIM card used for conspiracy of the protests and took extra money for the same. He has applied for bail in the present case.

Petitioner’s Arguments 

The investigating agency has misapplied and wrongly invoked the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (“UAPA”). There is no evidence to prove that the Petitioner had the requisite intention or even was party to any terror activity.

The sole allegation is that he facilitated a SIM card on fictitious documents in exchange for some extra money. It is only alleged that the SIM card was provided by a student (purchaser) to the Jamia coordination committee to coordinate protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The Petitioner being stated as the provider of the SIM card is falsely made by the Investigating Agency. Also, the intention of such facilitation is only money and no other.

Thus, the invocation of the UAPA is disproportionate. There is no material to meet the basic ingredients provided under the UAPA, 1967. The Petitioner was neither present in north-east Delhi during the protests nor was he party to any such violence.

Arguments by State

The criminal conspiracy by the Petitioner with his co-accused have deliberately issued the SIM card. The Petitioner was well aware of the conspiracy of riots since the beginning. The said SIM Card was further used to manage and to mobilize the Muslim people of the area on the protest sites. The number also led to Chakka Jaam and riots in various protest sites in Delhi.

Going through the evidence of the investigating agency along with the presumption of the commission of an offence under Section 14-E of UAPA, there exists no ground to grant bail to the petitioner.

Court’s Observations

The Court noted that there was no allegation against the Petitioner that he engaged in any form of terror funding or such similar activity.

Also, the transaction relating to the SIM card had allegedly taken place in December 2019. The violence erupted in north-east Delhi in February. There is no connection between the aforesaid incidents. It is also not alleged that the said SIM card was provided to be utilized for organizing these protests.

The Court concluded that there must be active and actual knowledge by the Petitioner for the commission of offences under the UAPA. In the present case, the Petitioner was unaware of the SIM card being used for organizing the protests.

Court’s Decision

The Petitioner was granted bail on the ground that he did not know the use of SIM cards for organizing the Delhi riots.

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