What procedure is followed on pleas seeking ban on outfits?

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought to know from the Union government what procedure is followed before deciding a representation seeking ban on an outfit for alleged unlawful activities.

A division bench of Justices R V More and S P Tavade was hearing a petition filed by one Arshad Ali Ansari, seeking a direction to the Maharashtra government and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to ban activities of the right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha.

Ansari in his petition claimed he filed a representation before the state and the central government in September 2018, seeking that ban be imposed on the group under section 3 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

However, till date there has not been any response.

On Wednesday, the state government informed the bench that the competent authority to decide was the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Union government, however, told the court that the state government will have to first send a report on its findings on the outfit, after which the MHA will look into the issue.

“What is the procedure that is normally followed? Show us that procedure,” the court said and posted the petition for further hearing on March 4.

As per Ansari’s plea, filed by advocate Rajesh Khobragade, the Sanatan Sanstha’s name cropped up in some bmob blast cases in Maharashtra and in the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare.

“Members of the Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested for allegedly planting bombs in auditoriums at Thane and Vashi,” the plea said.

The petition has sought a direction to the state and the Centre to decide Ansari’s representation at the earliest and ban the Sanatan Sanstha.