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”.