ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday quashed criminal proceedings against paediatrician Kafeel Khan over an anti-CAA speech made by him at the Aligarh Muslim University campus due to lack of necessary sanction from the government.

A single-judge bench of Justice Gautam Chaudhary set aside a chargesheet and cognisance order passed against Khan, noting that requisite sanction was not taken by district magistrate from central and state governments under section 196(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for such cases.

However, he made it clear that the chargesheet and its cognisance may be taken by the court after the mandatory sanction is granted under section 196 (a) of the CrPC by the central as well as the state government.

The chargesheet and cognisance order was passed against Khan by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Aligarh in a case wherein Khan had delivered an alleged inflammatory speech during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at AMU in 2019.

Following the event, an FIR was lodged against Khan under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505(2) (statement creating or promoting, enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and 109 (abetment of offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Consequently, he was arrested and sent to jail.

The police submitted the chargesheet before the Aligarh court on March 16, 2020 and the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) took its cognisance on July 28, 2020.

Khan then filed a petition challenging it.

According to section 196(a) of the CrPC, no court shall take cognisance of any offence under section 153A of the IPC except with the previous sanction of the central government or state government or the district magistrate.