PFI Moves SC Challenging Five-Year Ban Under UAPA 

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The government banned the PFI for five years for its alleged links with global terrorist organisations such as ISIS and for trying to spread communal hatred in the country

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday approached the Supreme Court against a Home Ministry notification designating it and its affiliated organisations as ‘unlawful associations’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

A bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi was slated to hear the PFI special leave petition in this regard on Friday. However, the hearing has been deferred for now in terms of a letter seeking adjournment, media reports said.

In its petition, the PFI has challenged the March 21 order of the UAPA tribunal by which it had confirmed the September 27, 2022 decision of the central government.

The government banned the PFI for five years for its alleged links with global terrorist organisations such as ISIS and for trying to spread communal hatred in the country.

It declared as ‘unlawful association’ the PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts, including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala.

The notification proscribing the organisation said the central government is of the firm opinion that it is necessary to declare the PFI and its associates, affiliates or fronts as ‘unlawful association’ with immediate effect under the UAPA. It said the notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under Section 4 of the UAPA, have effect for a period of five years from the date of its publication in the official gazette. 

More than 150 people allegedly linked to the PFI were detained or arrested in raids across seven states in September last year. A pan-India crackdown by agencies against the 16-year-old group led to the arrest of over a hundred of its activists and seizure of several dozen properties.

The Home Ministry’s notification had said some of the PFI’s founding members are the leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and the PFI has linkages with Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Both JMB and SIMI are proscribed organisations.

The PFI and its associates or affiliates or fronts, the ministry claimed, have been 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.

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