By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 9: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the petition of Thwaha Fasal against a Kerala High Court order dismissing his bail plea in the UAPA case against him. 

The bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Ajay Rastogi has asked NIA to respond within three weeks, India Today reported.

Thwaha Fasal and Shuaib, who are students of journalism and law, respectively, and CPI(M)’s branch committee members, were arrested by NIA on November 2, 2019 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoist links.

Senior Advocate V Giri, appearing for Fasal, stated that he was in custody since November 2019 and was granted bail in September last year. However, after the Kerala High Court cancelled Fasal’s bail plea, he was forced to surrender again in January.

Fasal had moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Kerala High Court’s judgment which set aside bail granted to him by the NIA Court in Kochi.

A division bench of the high court, however, did not cancel the bail of another accused Allan Shuaib, considering his young age and health.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, the counsel for NIA, told Supreme Court that bail had been granted to the other accused only on medical grounds. He added that Kerala High Court was right in cancelling Fasal’s bail.

NIA had in course of the earlier hearings stated that a large amount of incriminating material had been seized from Fasal during his arrest. This included books on Maoists along with articles, pamphlets, and multiple documents that support Maoist ideology.

Fasal, on the other hand, had argued that literary material on any topic cannot be considered to be a criminal offence.

In his plea before the Supreme Court, Fasal further reiterated this and said, “Mere possession of documents of banned organisations along with books of current political and social issues, to most, is only indicative of a learning process from the side of the petitioner, especially since he was a journalism student.”

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