The Kerala government will move an appeal against the High Court observation that being a Maoist is not a crime. It has asked state home secretary Nalini Netto to submit a report after examining the verdict delivered on Friday.
It fears that the verdict will affect the ongoing anti-Maoist operations in the state. It also feels that since Maoists call for an armed rebellion, its activities are illegal.
The state plans to move either the division bench of the High Court or the Supreme Court once Netto's report is ready.
"We are really surprised. The government would move an appeal against this," said Ramesh Chennithala, state home minister adding it would be difficult to enforce UAPA (unlawful activities prevention act) under these circumstances.
Hearing a petition filed by Syam Balakrishnan, who was arrested by the anti-Maoist wing of the state police in Wayanad, north Kerala, the court had said though Maoists never believed in the present system of government they could not be arrested and persecuted without any offence. It also quashed case against him and ordered the state to pay him a relief Rs 1 lakh.
The son of a retired judge, Balakrishnan was arrested in 2014 alleging a nexus with Maoists and was in custody for a day. He claimed that he was tortured in custody. Later, he moved the High Court saying the police action infringed upon the Article 21 of the Constitution.
Fearing the growing clout of Maoists in the state, the state has arrested many people in the last two years under the UAPA.