Akhil Gogoi Case: Legal Angle

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

Peasant leader Akhil Gogoi was allowed bail by the Gauhati High Court in three cases held up by the Assam Police, with regard to the protests against the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019. Be that as it may, he will stay in prison for the cases being tested by the National Investigation Agency (hereinafter referred to as the “NIA”). Hearing the bail applications in the three cases enlisted at Chabua Police Headquarters in the Dibrugarh area, Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak allowed bail to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (hereinafter referred to as the “KMSS”) leader, Akhil Gogoi.

Gogoi’s supporter Santanu Borthakur stated: “Presently he has got bail in all cases, with the exception of the two NIA cases. The conference in one of these two cases will begin in the following barely any days. We trust the court will give bail to him.” The three cases, for which Gogoi was captured on 29 May while he was at that point in prison, were identified with consuming of a mail station, a circle office and a part of the United Bank of India in Chabua during savage protests against the questionable Citizenship Amendment Act.

NIA is investigating two cases, which were at first enlisted at Chandmari and Chabua Police Headquarters, identified with the supposed job of Gogoi in the vicious protests. Gogoi, the guide of KMSS, tested positive for COVID-19 inside Guwahati Central Jail on 11 July and was being treated at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (hereinafter referred to as the “GMCH”).

Amidst the serious Anti-CAA development, Gogoi was captured on 12 December, 2019, from Jorhat as a “preventive measure” followed by which his three associates were arrested the following day. The four leaders were later captured in various old cases enrolled across various police headquarters in Assam. They have made bail in the greater part of these cases. The unique NIA Court had allowed bail to Gogoi on 17 March in the Chandmari Police Headquarters case, and accordingly to others after the investigating organization neglected to record a charge sheet inside the predetermined time of 90 days.

On 29 May, the NIA documented the charge sheet against Gogoi and three of his partners for dissidence and fear exercises. KMSS leader Bittu Sonowal, who was captured by NIA alongside Gogoi, was allowed bail by an extraordinary NIA Court on Wednesday. Another, KMSS leader Manash Konwar got bail by the extraordinary NIA Court here and he was discharged from the prison on Tuesday. The fourth partner, Dhaijya Konwar, has not yet gotten bail. He, alongside Gogoi and Sonowal, was being treated at GMCH in the wake of testing positive for COVID-19.

Facts of the Case

In Assam that has a background marked by numerous ethnic developments, Akhil Gogoi, 44, has become famous by driving a few tumults in the previous multi decade. His words and activities on issues, for example, large dams, land rights, debasement, unapproved cost doors increased his mass intrigue, however not without welcoming the fury of the decision class.

The current government drove by the Bharatiya Janata Party (hereinafter referred to as the “BJP”) has been especially brutal on him, and has guaranteed that Gogoi, 44, stays in the slammer for quite a while. The worker leader and anti-debasement lobbyist is presently dealing with indictments under the tough Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 for allegedly inducing brutality during the protests against the dubious Citizenship (Amendment) Act in a joint effort with Maoists, last December.

Gogoi, who tried positive COVID-19 alongside 54 different prisoners of Guwahati Central Jail not long ago, has been moved to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital following a gigantic open clamour. The State Government was blamed for delaying his test report, even as he continued whining about his bombing well-being. Common society gatherings and resistance groups have been long requesting the arrival of Gogoi, refering to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 12 and 13, several Assamese understudies from the nation over, just as the scholars’ locale in the state composed separate letters to Assam boss pastor Sarbananda Sonwal, requesting the arrival of Gogoi and other political detainees who were captured during the anti-CAA fomentation a year ago.

Legal Provisions Involved

Gogoi has additionally been reserved under different arrangements of the Indian Penal Code including but not limited to subversion (section 124-A), the discipline of criminal scheme (section 120-B), unlawful affiliation (section 153A) and ascriptions, and declarations biased to national-incorporation (section 153-B). Without a doubt, Gogoi has followed through on an overwhelming cost for his constant promotion of individuals’ privileges.

Moreover, this was not the first run through Gogoi has been charged and captured under such draconian laws. In 2017, the Government of Assam had him captured and charged under different arrangements of the National Security Act, 1980, that permits specialists to confine an individual for as long as a year. Fortunately, the respectable Guwahati High Court had interceded and requested his prompt discharge by holding that the detainment abused his key rights under Article 22 (5) of the Constitution. More than 100 criminal cases have been enlisted against Gogoi, till date.

Critical Analysis

It is important to remind ourselves in contemporary India, that governmental issues make the law as and when required, and even change or replaces them for their convenience. But somewhere in this conundrum, there is a breaking point, where the masses start craving justice. The instance of Akhil Gogoi reaffirms a conviction that while law controls, legislative issues oversee!

Constant detainment of social extremist Akhil Gogoi, through rehashed arrests since December 12 is a significant worry for those of us who have faith in rule of law being a significant part of Indian Democracy. Confronting preliminaries on unmerited charges isn’t new to Gogoi. He has been a social extremist known for battling debasement in high places and in Government, and privileges of workers, jobless and the landless. His ongoing difficulty started with the anti-CAA development in which he had the option to prepare an enormous number of individuals who tested the Bill. The Bill was seen as an endeavor at changing Assam’s demography and in this way, compromising the social character and political privileges of the Assamese (lawful occupants) in their own country.

Between Arrests & Bails  

His detainment has followed when he composed anti-CAA protests in Assam, which in the long run spread to the whole nation. He was captured from Jorhat on December 12, 2019, as a preventive measure while protests were on. On December 13, Guwahati police enrolled a suo-moto body of evidence against him. The Guwahati case was given over to NIA on December 14 and he was reserved him under the scandalous Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In any case, they neglected to charge sheet him inside the compulsory time of 90 days and along these lines he was allowed bail on March 17 by the Special Judge, NIA.


Common society has communicated worry about the results of such official strategies for Indian popular government. In excess of 30 individuals including scholars, advocates, senior columnists, authors, activists, previous parliamentarians and others from across India gave an announcement on April 2. The signatories have lamented how the standards of normal justice have been evaded to confine Gogoi in one case after another, rendering particular bail orders ineffective. It was certain that the rehashed arrests of Gogoi, were proposed to empower the government to keep him in guardianship with no preliminaries. Therefore, he has been denied of his entitlement to individual freedom. This act of re-capturing the denounced was used in old cases, when the charge sheets couldn’t be documented in any significant charges. It appears to be an endeavour at going around the process of legal investigation. It obviously is a gross infringement of the standards of normal justice.

The higher legal executives need to intervene, to secure the human privileges of all activists who endure such injustice. Gogoi’s well-being has additionally been falling apart and the prison authorities have not been giving him legitimate treatment. Therefore, the NIA uncommon court needed to arrange a registration and furthermore to designate a clinical board to screen his well-being. In spite of ailment, Gogoi has not been hospitalized and the authorities have been simply making rounds of the Medical College in the late evening when just junior doctors are available. It will be disastrous, if something adverse were to transpire, especially with regard to the ongoing pandemic. The lawful club now needs to watch out for our legal procedure when an active rumored judge says that the laws and legitimate framework are equipped for the rich and powerful.

Author: Kanya Saluja from Institute of Law, Nirma University.

Editor: Astha Garg, Junior Editor, Lexlife India.


Clause 6 in Assam accord

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

The Assam Accord was a Memorandum of Settlement that was signed on August 15, 1985. It was signed by the Central Government, the Government of Assam, and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) and was the result of a six-year-long agitation that was launched by AASU. The agitation was due to the apprehensions of the natives of the state regarding the continuing influx of foreign nationals into Assam and the fear about adverse effects upon the political, social, cultural and economic life of the State.

The Union Cabinet has set up a high-level committee on 16th July 2019 to look into measures for the implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985. The committee was headed by retired Justice Biplab Sharma and consisted of state government ministers, top officials of the state government and members of the AASU.

The committee gave recommendations and measures to implement Clause 6 of the Accord. The high-level committee submitted its report to the Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonawali, on 25th February 2020. The Assam government will subsequently send the report to the Ministry of Home Affairs for further action. The three communities wary of implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord are the Bengal-origin or Bengali speaking Muslims referred to as Miyas, Bengali Hindus and Gurkhas.

What is the said clause?

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord talks about the safeguards that would be provided in the form of constitutional, legislative and administrative measures for the protection, preservation, and promotion of the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the native Assamese people. This clause provides safeguards specifically for people who were recognized as “Assamese people”. People who entered the state before 1st January 1966 were to be regularised. People who entered after 1st January 1966 but before 24th January 1971 were to be detected according to the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964. The Accord had set 24th March 1971 as the date for the recognition of citizens. People who entered the state after the said date were liable to be detected, deleted and expelled following the law.

Why/how was it introduced?

The Assam Accord was signed between the representatives of the Government of India, the Government of Assam and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15th August 1985. The Memorandum of Settlement was a result of a six-year-long agitation, initiated by AASU in 1979, demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants. The accord prescribes the deportation of anyone who entered the state illegally after midnight of March 24, 1971. The Assam Accord brought about the culmination of a phase of great unrest and anxiety in the modern history of Assam. The agitation was mostly spearheaded by the student youth of Assam who saw a direct threat to their future caused due to the heavy and unchecked influx of foreigners from the neighboring countries into the state.

Why is it a cause of concern for the communities?

The three communities namely, the Miyas, Bengali Hindus and Gurkhas are concerned with the recommendations said to be given by the committee. The committee recommended setting the cut off date as 1951 for extending constitutional benefits to the indigenous people of Assam, introducing the Inner Line Permit system in the entire state and reservation of seats for the indigenous people in different elected bodies.

These communities feel that they should not be excluded from the list of indigenous communities of Assam. The Miyas have claimed that the Assamese population would become a minority if they Miyas are not regarded as indigenous. The Gurkhas have said that they should be regarded as an indigenous community to protect their constitutional and land rights. The Bengali Hindus have also said that many of them have been residing in Assam since before the March 1971 cut-off date and deserve to be included as indigenous. It has been said by these communities that if the base year is set as 1951 instead of 1971 then many of the Bengalis in Assam will have to suffer gross injustice as they migrated to Assam only after 1951 due to which they will not have any safeguards under clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

Critical analysis

The lack of consensus in the definition of “Assamese people” or “indigenous people” as mentioned in clause 6 of the Assam Accord, threatens to exclude a majority of the Assamese population from the safeguards that are to be provided under the said provision. If the proposed date of 1951 is accepted as the cut-off date, it would mean that the people who migrated to Assam between 1951 and 1971 will be accepted as Indian citizens but they will not be eligible for the constitutional, administrative and legislative safeguards under clause 6 of the Accord.

It is also important to look at clause 6 of the Assam Accord in the context of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. A National Register of Citizens was to be prepared in the year 1951 which was finally introduced in 2019. But the basis for giving citizenship under the amended act is religious persecution to all non-Muslim immigrants.

The Act of 2019 has also shifted the cut-off date for granting citizenship from 24th March 1971 to 31st December 2014. This will be a hindrance to the effective implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord as it is violative of the same. By pushing the date from 1971 to 2014, it will only result in more immigrants being included for naturalization which will be a huge setback to the objective sought in the Assam Accord and specifically in clause 6.

How can the issue be resolved?

This problem can be resolved by regarding the original cut-off date of 1971 as the base year. There needs to be a proper definition to determine who falls under the ambit of “Assamese people” or” indigenous people”. The Centre should also take positive steps in making separate provisions for the state of Assam so that the objective of the Assam Accord does not get diluted in the backdrop of the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.


It is imperative to recognize the urgency of the situation and to come up with suitable measures to provide safeguard measures to the indigenous people of Assam. This will prevent a repeat of the widespread agitation that took place in the state in the 70s. The Central, as well as state government, should come together to find an equitable solution by including all the stakeholders who will be significantly affected by the implementation of the Assam Accord.

Author: Sahana Priya Satish from Tamil Nadu National Law University.

Editor: Tamanna Gupta from RGNUL, Patiala