High Court Dismissed ‘Copy-Paste’ Arguments in UAPA Cases, Grants Bail


SRINAGAR: Justice Atul Sreedharan of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently took exception to the trend of “copy-paste” arguments made by the government to oppose the release of those accused in cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Bar and Bench reported here.

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The judge observed that such arguments on national security, radical Islamism and allegiance to Pakistan are resorted to in many UAPA cases, instead of presenting any specific material against an accused person.

These general arguments are often made to overawe the Court psychologically, the judge further observed while allowing bail to a man accused in a 2013 UAPA case.

“The usual stock arguments that are made in a case under the UAPA that the offence is heinous, it is against the interest of the nation to let the appellant out on bail, that if the appellant is let out on bail, he would interfere with the judicial process and may influence the witnesses and that the appellant would repeat the offences, and that his release would be counterproductive for the unity and integrity of India, have also been advanced.

These arguments are “copy-paste” in every case under the UAPA,” stated the opinion authored by Justice Sreedharan in an April 19 order.

In the present case as well, Justice Sreedharan noted that the main focus of the government’s submissions included elements of “national security, nationalism, allegiance to Pakistan (of the accused), radical Islamism (as the influence of the accused), secession of Jammu and Kashmir from India and accession to Pakistan (as the goal of the accused) etc.”

The judge acknowledged that these are relevant aspects while dealing with UAPA cases. However, he added that such general allegations cannot be sole grounds to reject the bail plea of an accused against whom no specific evidence has been found.

“To be influenced by the often forceful submission of internal security of the State, and to reject a bail application where the State has utterly failed to disclose any material against the accused which could raise a prima facie view of the involvement of the accused as charged by the State, is a sure shot recipe for miscarriage of justice,” Justice Sreedharan said.

The judge further said that it would lead to the inadvertent, oppressive application of a draconian law if the Court were to only rely on the State’s apprehensions about internal security risks without any evidence.

“An overbearing subliminal belief in the primacy of internal security of the State in the sub conscious mind of the judge, could result in the inadvertent oppressive application of a draconian law resulting in the denial of liberty, unsupported by judicially cognizable material,” his opinion stated in this regard.

These observations were part of two paragraphs (paras 7 and 8) authored by Justice Sreedharan in a judgment granting bail to the UAPA accused.

In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Mohammad Yousuf Wani agreed that the accused man should be released on bail. However, Justice Wani added that he did not agree with Justice Sreedharan’s remarks in paras 7 and 8 of the judgment.


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