UAPA Tribunal upholds ban on pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice

The Centre’s ban on pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has been upheld by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel.

The tribunal has held that it was clear from the evidence on record that activities of the group were “unlawful”, “disruptive” and “threaten the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of India”.

Justice Patel also said that the evidence proves that SFJ was “working in collusion with anti-India entities and forces”.

“Thus, the Central Government had sufficient cause to take action under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for declaring Sikhs For Justice as an unlawful association.

“The notification dated July 10, 2019 issued by the Union of India under the Act declaring Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) to be an unlawful association is hereby confirmed. The reference is answered in the affirmative,” the tribunal said.

The Centre by its July 10, 2019 notification had declared SFJ as an unlawful association and had banned it for five years, saying the group’s primary objective was to establish an “independent and sovereign country” in Punjab and it openly espouses the cause of Khalistan and in that process, challenges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

Thereafter, in August a tribunal was set up for adjudicating whether there was sufficient cause to declare SFJ as an unlawful association.

No bail for two students arrested under UAPA

A court here on Wednesday dismissed the bail applications of two CPI(M) student activists, who were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist pamphlets.

Thaha Fazal and Allan Shuhaib, who are students of Journalism and Law respectively and CPI(M)’s branch committee members, were arrested on November 2 from here, causing widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.

The counsel of the two students told reporters that the Principal Sessions court had dismissed the bail pleas.

The grounds on which the bail applications were dismissed will be known only after getting copies of the order, they said.

The court has permitted the counsels to meet the accused for an hour this evening.

The petitioners are also likely to move the high court to quash the FIR against them and to seek bail.

The two accused are under judicial custody till November 15.

The brother and aunt of Taha Fazal said they have faith in the judiciary and the police had presented “fabricated evidence”.

Delhi HC rejects plea of suspected ISIS operative

The Delhi High Court has rejected a suspected ISIS operative’s plea seeking nod to inspect the documents, submitted by the NIA to a trial court in a case relating to the alleged charges of recruiting and financing people to join the terror group.

A bench of justices G S Sistani and Vinod Goel said that the case was related to the “larger conspiracy” by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and further investigation in the matter was going on.

The court also said that a charge sheet has already been filed in the case and the material relied upon by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be part of the final report filed by the investigators.

Delhi-based Islamic scholar Mufti Abdus Sami Qasmi had approached the high court challenging a special court’s December order by which he was denied the copy of documents submitted by the NIA in sealed covers.

Upholding the special court order, the bench referred to the agency’s affidavit before it which said that during the investigation, credible intelligence inputs were received that a module for ISIS was active in different parts of the country and is engaged in recruiting Muslim youth for the banned terror group.

“The input was developed and raids were conducted in different cities at different locations. Eighteen accused persons were arrested in the instant case and incriminating literature, material to fabricate IEDs, electronic devices and money received through hawala channels were seized from the possession of the accused,” the bench noted in its order.

According to the NIA, Qasmi was the first cleric to be arrested in the case from Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi district on February 5, 2016.

The NIA claimed that he was “delivering provocative and inflammatory speeches and was instigating youths for anti- national activities”.

The agency, in its affidavit, has also claimed that Qasmi “in the guise of a religious preacher was inciting, motivating and abetting Muslim youths, who sought his guidance in waging violent jihad and supporting and joining the ISIS”.

The charge sheet was filed for the alleged offences under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The agency had filed an FIR in the matter on December 9, 2015 against unknown and unidentified persons involved in the activities of ISIS in India and Asian powers in peace with India on inputs received from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

On October 5, 2015, 23-year-old accused Naser Packeer was apprehended by Sudani authorities for concealing his identity and trying to join ISIS in Syria. Later, he was deported to India on December 10, 2015.

The accused persons against whom the agency had filed the charge sheet include Mohd Aleem, Mohd Obaidullah Khan, Nafees Khan, Mohd Shareef Moinuddin Khan, Asif Ali, Najmul Huda, Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh, Mohd Abdul Ahad, Suhail Ahmed, Syed Mujahid, Mohd Hussain Khan, Mohd Afzal, Imran and Abu Anas.

They were arrested from different parts of the country for allegedly recruiting and financing people to join the terror organisation.


No automatic denial of bail for terror accused: Law panel

No automatic denial of bail for terror accused: Law panel
No automatic denial of bail for terror accused: Law panel

There should be no “automatic denial” of bail to a person accused of being involved in terror acts, the Law Commission has cautioned indicating that evidence should be given priority.

In its report on ‘Provisions relating to bail’, the panel has warned that “mere classification of an act as an act of terrorism should not result in the automatic denial of bail or reversal of the burden of proof”.

The report, submitted to the law ministry last week, pointed to the provisions in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) wherein the period of detention without bail can be extended.

It indicated that evidence against the accused should play an important role and people against whom there is shaky evidence should be granted bail before charges are pressed.

“Under UAPA, the period of detention without bail is 90 days. It likewise provides that the special court may extend the said period up to 180 days based on the report submitted by the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation and the specific reasons for the detention of the person accused of an offence beyond the said period of 90 days,” the reported pointed out.

It, however, said the approach to bail under UAPA is “liberal than what was under POTA and TADA”.

Under POTA and TADA, there was a virtual prohibition on bail for offences under these laws, it recalled. The two laws were repealed by Parliament.

But at the same time, the commission, headed by Justice B S Chauhan (retd) said “there is a necessity to impose stringent conditions while granting bail” to those accused of economic offences.

( Source – PTI )

Zakir Naik, IRF indulging in unlawful activity: HC

The Delhi High Court today upheld the Centre’s decision to immediately ban Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), saying the organisation and its president and members were indulging in “unlawful activity”.

Turning down the foundation’s claim that the Centre has not given reasons for its order, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said that there is material to establish that the “immediate action appears to have been taken in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India and public order”.

“The activities which the petitioner organisation and its president and members are alleged to have indulged in, would clearly come within the purview of unlawful activity and since petitioner organisation and its members are alleged to have been indulging in the said activities it would come within the definition of unlawful association,” the court said.

Producing the contents of the order by which the ban was imposed on the IRF, the court noted that as per the notification the foundation, its members and particularly founder — Naik — was encouraging and aiding its followers to promote the feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious communities and groups.

“Thus, it cannot be held that the notification insofar as it relates to, the exercise of power under proviso to section 3(3) of the Act and the declaration of petitioner association to be an unlawful association with immediate effect, is an arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power.

“Not only is the material available on the record of the Central Government but the reasons for exercise of the said power have been disclosed in the notification,” it said.

The IRF had moved the court challenging the November 17, 2016 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which had imposed an immediate ban on Naik’s organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Holding that Naik’s foundation’s plea against the Centre’s decision has “no merit”, the court said the decision of the government was “not arbitrary and illegal”.


Professor’s hand chopping case: Eight years rigorous imprisonment to 10 men

T J JosephTen persons belonging to radial outfits were today sentenced to eight years rigorous imprisonment by a special NIA court for chopping off a hand of  a professor in Kerala in 2010, accusing him of hurting religious sentiments through a question paper he had set.NIA court judge P Sasidharan also awarded two years rigorous imprisonment to three others in the sensational case and imposed a fine of Rs eight lakh on the 13 convicts which will be given to the victim, T J Joseph, professor of Newman College in Thodupuzha in Idukki district.

Those awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment were found guilty under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), along with different sections of the IPC and Explosive Substances Act. The rest three were convicted for offences under IPC.

Since many of the convicts have been under judicial custody for five years, they will have to serve only the remainder of the period in jail.

The court, which began trial in July 2013, examined over 300 prosecution witnesses, four defence witnesses, over 950 prosecution documents, nearly 30 defence documents, and over 200 material objects.

Thirty-seven persons were chargesheeted by NIA in the case. However, only 31 underwent trial as the remaining six, including first accused Savad, were absconding.

The 13 persons owing allegiance Popular Front of India were convicted in the case in which the right hand of Joseph was chopped while he was returning home after attending Sunday mass at a church in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district on July 4, 2010.

The court in its judgement had said the prosecution has proved beyond all reasonable doubts that eight of the accused along with some others entered into a criminal conspiracy to eliminate the professor by inflicting grievous injuries.

They did it out of enmity towards Joseph,accusing him of hurting religious sentiments of a community through a question paper he set for his students

Professor’s hand chopping case


Failure to depose: Court issues bailable warrants against cops

A has issued bailable warrants against three Uttar Pradesh Police officials for their failure to appear before it to depose as witness in a case involving jailed Naxal leader Kobad Ghandy, who is facing charges of indulging in unlawful activities.

Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh issued bailable warrants for a sum of Rs 5,000 against Rajesh Srivastava, Sameer Saurabh and Rajiv Diwedi, who were summoned as prosecution witnesses but did not appear before the court.

“Three other witnesses namely SI Rajiv Diwedi, Deputy SP Sameer Saurabh and Deputy SP Rajesh Srivastava were summoned for today, who are served, but have not appeared.

“This matter is fixed for evidence of prosecution on November 5, 2014. Issue bailable warrants qua these three witnesses in the sum of Rs 5,000, to be executed through DGP, UP,” the court said.

The court is currently recording statements of prosecution witnesses in the case in which Ghandy and Rajinder Kumar Fulara are facing trial. Both are lodged in jail under judicial custody.

The court had on July 16, 2012 framed charges against Ghandy for allegedly being a member of a banned terror group and furthering its activities in violation of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

He was charged under sections 20 and 38 of UAPA relating to membership of the banned group CPI-Maoist and furthering its activities.

Burdwan blast: NIA moves court for custody of accused

Burdwan blastThe NIA, which is probing the Oct 2 explosion in Burdwan, Saturday approached a West Bengal court seeking the custody of the accused arrested in the case as well as transfer of the case to a Kolkata court, an official said.

Earlier, the West Bengal CID had been probing the blast that occurred in a house in Khagragarh in Burdwan killing two suspected Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen militants and injuring another. Four people including two women have been arrested in this connection.

“The NIA today moved an application seeking custody of the accused that are now in CID custody. The agency has also requested to transfer the case from this (Burdwan) court to a court in Kolkata,” a public prosecutor said.

Having filed a first information report under the relevant laws including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), a NIA team visited the CID headquarters in the city seeking documents and materials seized during the investigation.

A National Investigation Agency team also visited Burdwan police station in whose jurisdiction the explosion had occurred.

Israeli diplomat case: Accused journalist moves court

Syed Mohammad Kazmi, a journalist who is an accused in the February 13 terror attack on an Israeli diplomat case, today moved the Delhi high Court seeking a direction to resume hearing before a sessions judge on his plea against extension of probe period in the case.

 Kazmi, in judicial custody in the Israeli diplomat case, had moved the sessions court against an order of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) allowing Delhi police the extension of period of investigation from 90 days to 180 days.

 Justice Manmohan has fixed further hearing on the fresh plea of Kazmi on July 13.

Earlier, the High Court had said that till it decides the question of law relating to power of magistrates to deal with cases lodged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the court of CMM will keep on dealing with such cases.

 The Israeli diplomat case had come before the High Court after a sessions judge questioned the power of a magisterial court to deal with the cases under anti-terror law UAPA.

 The jailed scribe, in his fresh plea in the High Court, has sought a direction for resumption of hearing before a sessions court on his revision petition filed against the extension of time granted to police to conclude the probe.

 “The order dated July 2 may be modified to the extent that the proceedings in the criminal revision before S S Rathi (sessions judge) be allowed to continue on other issues apart from the competence of the CMM to grant/extend the custody in the said matter,” the petition said.

 Kazmi was arrested on March 6 for his alleged role in the embassy car bombing. Four people were injured when an Israeli embassy car was struck by a bomb near the Prime Minister’s official residence here on February 13 this year.