Gauhati HC Dismisses Centre’s Plea Against Akhil Gogoi’s Bail

The HC noted that to attract offences punishable under the draconian UAPA act, the crime must be a terrorist act.

2 min read
Akhil Gogoi

The Gauhati High Court on Monday, 12 April, dismissed the state's petition against the bail of Assam peasant activist Akhil Gogoi granted by a special National Investigation Agency court on 1 October, 2020.

Gogoi was granted bail after a five-day hearing in one of the two cases being probed by the NIA on his alleged involvement in anti-CAA protests in Assam last year.

In a significant ruling, the bench of Justices Suman Shyam and Mir Alfaz Ali noted that to attract the offenses punishable under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the crime must be a terrorist act and must reflect the intent to threaten India's sovereignty, integrity, unity etc sufficiently, reported Live Law.

What the Court Said

The court noted that the intent of the accused must be to commit a terrorist act, within the ambit of Section 15(1) of the UAPA and involve the use of lethal weapons like explosive devices.

As per Live Law, the court noted:

“Unlawful act of any other nature, including acts arson and violence aimed at creating civil disturbance and law and order problems, which may be punishable under the ordinary law, would not come within the purview of section 15 (1) of the Act of 1976 unless it is committed with the requisite intention.”

What Was the Case About?

Gogoi, the leader of Raijor Dal, was arrested on 12 December 2019 from Jorhat, at the height of the anti-CAA protests in Assam, as a “preventive measure”.

The case, which was filed at the Chabua police station in December 2019, was later transferred to the NIA.

Gogoi was granted bail on a surety of Rs 30,000 and other routine conditions, like not tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses.

The charge sheet was filed in June, 2020, and Gogoi was booked under the UAPA under sections 15(1) (a)/16 for his alleged role in the protests and possible links with Maoists. He was then handed over to the NIA.

(With inputs from Live Law)

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