Mumbai: UAPA tribunal commences hearing to review PFI ban

Mumbai: UAPA tribunal commences hearing to review PFI ban

It will examine evidences to decide if the five-year ban is justified and should continue

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, February 16, 2023, 12:43 AM IST
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Mumbai: UAPA tribunal commences hearing to review PFI ban | File Photo

Mumbai: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) Tribunal on Wednesday commenced its hearing to review the ban imposed by the Centre on the Popular Front of India (PFI) as well as eight of its alleged affiliate entities. The tribunal, presided over by Delhi High Court Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, initiated the proceedings in court room number 16 in the Bombay High Court. 

How the evidence was analysed

On February 13, The Free Press Journal had reported that the UAPA Tribunal had been constituted to review the ban by analysing evidence. On Wednesday, prosecution led by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, examined several officers from the investigating agencies to put forth the evidence justifying the ban imposed on the organisations. The officers described how they seized alleged incriminating evidence during coordinated raids conducted throughout the country in September 2022. The impounded mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices contained material which propagated anti-national sentiments posing threat to India's internal security, underlined the officers. 

A battery of defence advocates cross-examined these officers to show how the ban on these organisations was unjustified. On September 28, 2022, the Centre banned PFI and its affiliates for five years. Saying it was “necessary to curb the nefarious activities” of the organisation, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared the PFI an “unlawful association” along with “its associates or affiliates or fronts”. The ban was imposed following a week-long nationwide crackdown by law enforcement agencies, including the Anti Terrorism Squad and National Investigation Agency. 

Tribunal will continue its hearing till February 18

As mandated by the UAPA provisions, the Centre has set up the tribunal to review whether the ban was justified and should continue as per law. Once an entity is banned under the UAPA, a tribunal is set up by the government to adjudicate whether there is sufficient ground for the decision. 

The tribunal will continue its hearing till February 18. After Mumbai, the tribunal is expected to hold hearings in those cities from where several PFI members have been arrested. 

POINTERS :

Ban imposed on...

September 28, 2022

Centre's reason behind move…

To curb the nefarious activities

UAPA provisions…

Setting up of tribunal to scrutinise govt's decision

Hearing to go on till…

February 18

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