The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the Allahabad High Court verdict which had quashed the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) and ordered his immediate release. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which was hearing the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea challenging the high court’s September 1 verdict, said it is “a good judgement”.
“We will not interfere in the judgement. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state, told the bench that observation made by the high court exonerates Khan in the criminal proceedings.
“Criminal cases will be decided on their own merits,” the bench observed.
Khan had hit the headlines after the 2017 tragedy at Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, in which several children died due to a lack of oxygen cylinders. Initially, he was hailed as a saviour for arranging emergency oxygen cylinders but later faced action along with nine other doctors and staff members of the hospital, all of whom were released on bail later.
In its September 1 verdict, the high court had quashed khan's detention under the NSA and ordered his immediate release, saying his speech at the AMU didn't promote hatred or violence and gave a call for national integrity.
The high court had said that the Aligarh district magistrate, who had passed the order for Khan's detention, did a "selective reading" of his speech, "ignoring its true intent".
The high court had allowed the petition filed by Khan's mother, Nuzhat Parveen, and said the detention order by the district magistrate was illegal.