CAA Protestor Akhil Gogoi Denied Bail by Supreme Court

The Citizenship Amendment Act protests despite being over a year ago have got India still reeling over its after-effects. The violent turn the protests took has been a point of criticism. innumerable activists and journalists were arrested in regard to their involvement in the protests. One of the prominent activists involved in the protests was Akhil Gogoi who is the Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad (KMSS) and Raijor Dal leader.

Facts

Akhil Gogoi is a prominent human rights activist based in Assam. He was arrested on 12th December 2019 for an alleged role in the anti-CAA protests in the north-eastern parts of the country which involved a lot of violence. Gogoi has been in prison since December 2019. His bail application in the Guwahati High Court was rejected on January 7th 2021. The same was challenged before the Supreme Court. Gogoi was arrested on grounds of preventive measures. The grounds of arrest was Sections 120B, 124A, 153B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 18 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The case is now handled by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The charges levelled against Gogoi was that of sedition law read with the provisions of UAPA.

Arguments

The main argument put forward by the counsel for the petitioner Jaideep Gupta was that there were violent protests, that took place in the background of the anti-CAA movement. But violent protests cannot be termed terrorist activities. It was pleaded by Gupta, “It’s not related to terrorism at all.” This argument was put forth by Gupta on grounds that Gogoi was being charged under the UAPA, which is an anti-terror law, thus deeming Gogoi’s arrest on grounds of a non-bailable offence.

Decision

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The three-judge bench comprising of Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose rejected the bail application. The Court stated that “We will not consider the petition at this stage.” The counsel for the petitioner Runamoni Bhuyan was informed by the bench to approach the court for the bail plea once the trial starts.

The bail application in the Supreme Court was an appeal that was filed with regard to the order that the Guwahati High Court gave. Gogoi had approached the High Court challenging the order that was given on July 13, 2020, passed by the Special Judge (NIA), Assam, Guwahati in Misc. Case No. 18/2020 arising out of Spl. NIA Case No. 2/2020. Spl. NIA Case No. 2/2020 was the case that rejected Gogoi’s bail application initially under Section 21 (4) of the National Investigating Agency Act, 2008.


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