In its observations, the SC said it would be appropriate for the PFI to first approach the high court against a tribunal’s order in which it upheld the ban and designation of PFI and eight other organisations as ‘unlawful’ under UAPA provisions.
NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of the Popular Front of India (PFI) against an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) tribunal confirming the five-year ban imposed on it by the central government.
In its observations, a two-judge bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi said it would be appropriate for the PFI to first approach the high court against the tribunal’s order upholding the government’s decision of banning and designating PFI and eight other organisations as ‘unlawful’ under UAPA.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing PFI, agreed with the court’s view that the organisation should have approached the high court and then come to the top court.
The bench dismissed the plea but granted the PFI the opportunity to approach the high court.
In its petition, the PFI challenged the March 21 order of the UAPA tribunal by which it had confirmed the September 27, 2022 decision of the Centre.
The Centre banned the PFI for five years for its alleged links with global terrorist organisations and for trying to spread communal hatred in the country. The Centre had also directed all states and the Union Territories (UTs) to “exercise” powers of the UAPA against the outfit and its affiliates.
Over 100 PFI cadres were arrested in multiple raids carried out across the country last year by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state agencies as well as police forces based on findings about a number of “instances of international linkages of PFI with global terrorist groups like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”.
The PFI and its associates were also charged with working covertly to increase the radicalisation of one community by promoting a sense of insecurity in the country, which is substantiated by the fact that some PFI cadres have joined international terrorist organisations. — With inputs from agencies