The Guwahati High Court on Thursday quashed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court order and has allowed the probe agency to frame charges against Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi and three others in connection with anti-CAA protests.
“The Guwahati High Court on Thursday quashed the discharge order passed by the Special Judge, NIA court, Guwahati and has allowed the petition filed by the National Investigation Agency,” Assam Advocate General Devajit Lon Saikia told ANI.
The National Investigation Agency has challenged the order of a Special NIA Court, dated 01.07.2021, giving clean chit to the four accused. Hearing the plea, the High Court asked the agency to go ahead with framing charges after reopening the case.
“It is no doubt correct that the advent of CAB/ CAA had triggered widespread public resentment across the state of Assam leading to the sporadic outbreak of protests across the state. A number of organizations also participated in such protests. It is also correct that the members of the public have a constitutional right to resort to peaceful protest in such matters. The fact, however, remains that the prosecution is relying upon the record to show that the protests and agitations resorted to by the accused persons during the relevant time, in some places, had turned violent,” the HC order said.
Gogoi in association with and with the active support of his followers, had not only mobilized the public and persuaded them to join the agitation in protest against the CAB/CAA but also had spear-headed such agitation in many places. During the course of the agitation, incidents of violence did break out in many places, the court said.
“As such, the approach of the learned Special Judge, NIA, in our considered opinion, was clearly erroneous in the eye of the law, thus having a vitiating effect on the impugned judgment,” the order stated.
“For the reasons stated above, we consider that the entire matter calls for reconsideration by the learned Special Judge, NIA. We set aside the impugned order dated July 1, 2021, and remand the matter back to the learned trial court to conduct a fresh hearing on the framing of the charge against all four accused persons,” it read.
It would also be open for the learned Special Judge, NIA to consider, if this is a case where a charge can be framed against the accused persons under the UA(P) Act or whether a charge needs to be framed against all or any of them only under the provisions contained in the IPC, the HC said.
The court further said that to facilitate the above, both parties are directed to appear before the learned court on February 23.
“Our attention has also been drawn to the fact that accused No.1 (Sri Akhil Gogoi) was in custody and pursuant to the order of discharge dated July 1, 2021, he has been released. We do not wish to make any observation in this regard save and except providing that if any bail application is moved on behalf of the accused No.1(A-1), the same shall be considered by the learned trial Judge as per law, on its own merit and without being influenced by any observation made in this order. The remaining accused persons may be permitted to remain on previous bail,” said the Gauhati High Court in its order.
The Special NIA Court on July 1, 2021, released Gogoi and three others for their alleged role in the violent anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act stir in Assam in December 2019.
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.