The Supreme Court has quashed the proceedings under the National Security Act (NSA) against a Samajwadi Party leader in Uttar Pradesh in a revenue dues matter, and pulled up the state for "non-application of mind" and "improper exercise" of jurisdiction.
A bench of Justices S K Kaul and A Amanullah said the apex court is "quite amazed" with the exercise of power under the NSA in April last year against petitioner Yusuf Malik in respect of a dispute over revenue dues of a property in Moradabad.
"Is this a case for NSA?," the bench asked the state's counsel while observing that this is why allegations of political vendetta crops up.
"This is a case of non-application of mind and improper exercise of jurisdiction. We quash the proceedings under the NSA and direct that the petitioner be set at liberty," the bench said on Monday, adding that he be released forthwith.
It noted that the petitioner was already granted bail in the two separate FIRs, on the basis of which the police authority made application for initiation of proceedings against him under the NSA.
The top court passed the order while hearing Malik's plea which claimed that he has been implicated in false cases on the basis of concocted allegations and thereafter, detention order was passed against him by invoking the provisions of the NSA with mala fide intention to keep him incarcerated indefinitely.
The petitioner was represented by senior advocate Wasim A Qadri, lawyer Saeed Qadri and others in the matter.
The plea said personal liberty of the petitioner was taken away by the State by "misusing the process of law" and he was falsely implicated in two cases lodged in Moradabad in March last year.
It alleged that thereafter, due to political reasons, the police recommended for initiating proceeding under section 3(2) of the NSA against him without any cogent material and detention order dated April 24, 2022 was passed by the district magistrate.
It said the petitioner has challenged the detention order before the Allahabad High Court but the plea could not be heard due to "delay caused" by the authorities and two extension orders of detention have been passed by the state even during the pendency of the petition before the high court.
The plea said on March 25, 2022, a notice of attachment was issued by the Office of Tax Department, Nagar Nigam, Moradabad and it was pasted on the house of a person, who is the father-in-law of the petitioner's daughter, stating that dues (house tax and water tax) amounting to Rs 23,04,456 was pending till March 31, 2021.
It said no prior notice informing about the dues amounting to Rs 23 lakh had ever been communicated to or received by the owner of the house.
The plea said an FIR was registered on March 26 last year upon the complaint of additional commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Moradabad with respect to the incident alleged to have taken place wherein it was alleged that Malik and others did not allow the revenue officials of the district administration to do their duty of alleged collection of due land revenue.
The allegation in the FIR was that Malik had entered the office of a revenue officer and misbehaved and thereafter made a call to the complainant and threatened him with dire consequences for having sealed the residence of the person, the plea said.
It said on March 27 last year another FIR was registered upon the written complaint of a revenue Inspector alleging that he had sealed the residence of the person but one of the seals at the gate were found broken.
The plea said the March 27 FIR does not name the petitioner.
It said later, the station house officer of civil lines police station in Moradabad submitted his report to the SP on April 23, 2022 for initiating proceedings against the petitioner under section 3(2) of the NSA based on these FIRs.
"The allegations against the petitioner in the preventive detention order dated April 24, 2022 passed by the district magistrate, Moradabad, under section 3(2) of the National Security Act, 1980 pertain to the allegations that do not fall within the definitions of acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community," the plea said.
It said the detention order and its extension for further period of three months by the state government are "wholly illegal and not sustained in the eye of law" and is liable to be set aside.
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