The Supreme Court has sought the newly-constituted National Investigation Agency's response on a petition questioning its power to invoke a stringent act with retrospective effect against an Assam government official for "waging war" against the country.
Deputy director of Social Welfare Department, North Cachar HIlls, Redaul Hussain Khan was arrested on May 31 by Assam's Bashishta police on charges of providing financial support to Dima Halam Daogah (Joel)-- DHD (J), a separatist organisation clamouring for an independent homeland.
The apex court will examine whether the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act could be invoked retrospectively, since at the time of Khan's arrest, the DHD-(J) was not banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The issue is of considerable significance as under the act the accused can be detained for up to 180 days of judicial custody without a bail, unlike the IPC provision where an accused is entitled to bail if the investigating agency is unable to file the chargesheet within the 90 days period.
Incidentally, the case against Khan is said to be the first ever case registered by the NIA which was constituted early this year in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and B Sudershan Reddy issued notice to the NIA on the petition filed by Khan through counsel Azim H Lashkar.