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Key Takeaways

  • “After perusing the charge sheet, if the Court is unable to draw such a prima facie conclusion, the embargo created by the proviso will not apply"
  • “The Court has to examine the material forming a part of the charge sheet for deciding the issue whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such a person is prima facie true.”

Background

  • Thwaha Fasal and Allan Shuhabi, students from Kerala, were charged under the UAPA over alleged links to banned Maoist groups.
  • Special NIA Court allowed them bail after noting that the charge sheet did not reveal a prima facie case against them, the High Court on appeal reversed those findings.
  • The High Court set aside the bail granted to Thwaha but sustained Allan's bail on consideration of his medical condition of depression and younger age
  • The Supreme Court allowed Thwaha's appeal against the High Court judgment and dismissed NIA's appeal against the bail granted to Allan

Observations

  • The Court is not expected to do a "mini-trial" to ascertain the prima facie case. At this stage, the Court has to take the material in the charge sheet "as it is”.
  • Taking the charge sheet as correct, at the highest, it can be said that the material prima facie establishes the association of the accused with a terrorist organization CPI (Maoist) and their support to the organization.
  • However, there is no material to show that they had "intention to further the activities" of the terror group, to attract the grave offences under Sections 38 and 39 of the UAPA.
  • Stringent conditions have been imposed by the Special Court for bail. Accordingly, the Special Court's order was restored, and the High Court's judgment was set aside.

Questions

  • Do you agree with the judgement?
  • What is a charge sheet?

Share your views in the comments section below

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