The Allahabad HC has directed the government to immediately release Dr Kafeel Khan who has been in custody under the provisions of National Security Act (NSA). The order came in after a habeas corpus petition filed by Dr Khan’s mother, Nuzhat Perween who had alleged that her son had been detained illegally.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh has revoked the charges against Dr. Kafeel Khan. He is presently lodged in the Mathura Jail. The order of his detention was passed on 13th February, 2020 by District Magistrate, Aligarh under the NSA Act and confirmed by the State of Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested from Mumbai in January for allegedly giving a provocative speech at the Aligarh Muslim University in December during the anti-CAA protests.
Dr Khan’s mother had first approached the Supreme Court in March this year, however a bench comprising CJI S A Bobde, Justices Surya Kant, and B R Gavai disposed of the plea with an observation that Allahabad HC would be the appropriate forum for dealing with this matter.
Since his arrest, activists across the country were demanding his release with hashtags on social media such as #ReleaseDrKafeelKhan. He came in the news first in 2017 during a tragedy in Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College Hospital, Gorakhpur, regarding the death of nearly 60 infants due to lack of oxygen supply. Initially it was reported that he had acted as a saviour as he promptly arranged oxygen supply by paying out of his pocket but later he was named in an FIR registered under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant or by banker, merchant, or agent), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. He was arrested in 2017 and later released in April 2018 when the HC allowed his bail application observing that that there existed no material on record to establish charges of medical negligence against Dr Khan individually.