‘UAPA invoked only to deny bail,’ the court observed

In a major development, the Madras High Court has granted bail to a Muslim man booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on suspicion of hatching a conspiracy to kill a Hindu man who had objected to the conversion of his son to Islam [Sadam Hussain vs State represented by the Inspector of Police], Bar & Bench reported on August 28. A bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and AD Jagadish Chandira said there wasn’t any complaint filed by anyone against the appellant and that no one was even injured in the case and that UAPA was invoked only to deny bail to the accused.

The Court also held that allegations that the appellant Sadam Hussain wanted to eliminate one Kumaresan because he opposed converting his son to Islam, would fall short of amounting to a ‘terrorist act’ under UAPA.

“Therefore, in the opinion of this court, the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been included only in order to deny/delay the appellant from getting bail from the court. Further, considering the facts of the case, this court is of the opinion that the allegations against the appellant do not fall within the definition of ‘Terrorist Act’ and there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the appellant is prima facie true,” the Court held in the order passed on August 26.

As per the prosecution case, the appellant was found in suspicious circumstances and was picked up by a constable on March 7, 2022. The motive of this conspiracy, the police claimed, was to eliminate Kumaresan and get his son converted to Islam and also to send a strong message to people from Hindu community not to marry Muslim people and convert them to Hinduism.

The judges, however, said that the contention regarding the motive was contradictory. The Court noted that the motive attributed to the accused by the prosecution has got two limbs. First, the removal of the hindrance in convert one Arunkumar, who had married a Muslim girl from Hinduism to Islam and the second, to threaten people from other communities not to enter into confrontation with Islam.

The bench reasoned that if the accused actually wanted to kill Kumaresan so that he is not an obstacle in conversion of his son to Islam, then the modus operandi would have been to kill him by maintaining secrecy of the plan. However, if they wanted to create fear and terror among the people of other beliefs, then their plan would have been to kill Kumaresan openly.

“A logical analysis would reveal that both the limbs of motive travel vice versa and they cannot be meeting at any point,” the Court said.

The judges further noted that the police had initially registered an offence under section 153 (A) (attempting to create communal tension) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Criminal Law Amendment (CLA) Act and later invoked provisions of the Arms Act and UAPA.

The State police had referred this case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) but the central agency refused to take it up.

In view of the above, the bench granted bail to the appellant on a surety of ₹25,000. He was directed not to commit any offence while on bail or abscond or tamper with evidence.

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