Kafeel Khan gets relief in hate speech case

New Delhi: Pediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, who was accused in the 2017 Gorakhpur children death case and was cleared of the charges, addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Sep 28, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Aug 27 (IANS) The Allahabad High Court has set aside the chargesheet and its cognizance order passed against Dr Kafeel Khan by chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Aligarh in a criminal case, alleging that Dr Khan had delivered an inflammatory speech during protest against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)/National Register of Citizens (NRC) at Aligarh Muslim University in 2019.

The court set aside the chargesheet and its cognizance order, observing that before filing the chargesheet, the police authorities concerned had not taken the requisite sanction from the Centre or the state government or the district magistrate under section 196 (a) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as required in such cases (inflammatory speech offences).

However, while giving this judgment, Justice Gautam Chaudhari made it clear that the chargesheet and its cognizance order may be taken up by the court after the mandatory sanction granted under section 196 (a) of CrPC from the Centre or the state government or the district magistrate.

According to section 196 (a) of CrPC, no court shall take cognizance of any offence under section 153A of IPC except with the previous sanction of the Centre or the state government or the district magistrate.

Earlier, an FIR was lodged against Dr Khan in this connection under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505 (2) (statement creating or promoting, enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 109 (abetment of offence) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) after his speech at the AMU on December 12, 2019 during the anti-CAA protest.

Consequently, he was arrested and sent to jail. Later, the police submitted the chargesheet before an Aligarh court on March 16, 2020. The CJM, Aligarh took its cognizance on July 28, 2020.

The present petition was filed by Khan challenging it.

At another stage, he was booked under National Security Act (NSA) in this connection, which was later set aside by the high court.

Khan, a paediatrician of BRD Medical College of Gorakhpur, was earlier suspended from service in August 2017,following the death of about 60 infants in the BRD Medical College hospital due to lack of oxygen.

Khan has challenged his suspension before the high court which is hearing the case.

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