The Supreme Court stated that the High Court order will not affect criminal prosecution that the doctor is facing in any other cases.

Gorakhpur based doctor Kafeel Khan sitting inside a car wearing a black tshirtPTI
news Court Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 14:50

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 had ordered his immediate release. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, which was hearing the Uttar Pradesh government's plea challenging the High Court's September 1 verdict, also called the High Court’s order a “good judgment.”

“We will not interfere in the judgement. However, the observation will not impact any other proceedings,” said the apex court bench, also comprising justices AS 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 Kafeel Khan's detention under the stringent NSA and ordered his immediate release, saying his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University against the Controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 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 Kafeel Khan's detention, did a "selective reading" of his speech by "ignoring its true intent." The Allahabad High Court had allowed the petition filed by Khan's mother, Nuzhat Parveen, and said the detention order by the district magistrate was illegal.

 

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