Thursday, February 9, 2023

Delhi High Court rejects challenge to notification declaring Dukhtaran-e-Millat as terrorist organisation under UAPA

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The High Court of Delhi dismissed a petition on Thursday, which had challenged the notification declaring the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) as a terrorist organisation under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The Kashmir-based all-women outfit, led by Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi, was banned by the Central government on December 30, 2004. 

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Anish Dayal dismissed the plea filed by Andrabi, after noting that the petitioner organisation should have first approached the Central government for removal of its name from the list of terrorist organisations under the UAPA.

The High Court told the petitioner that chapter VI of UAPA had provision for adding either an individual or a terrorist organisation as part of the Schedule (as per Section 35). 

Section 36 of the Act provided that an application may be submitted to the Union government to exercise power under Section 35(1)(c) for removal of an organisation from the Schedule, it added.

The Bench asked the Counsel representing the petitioner organisation whether they have moved an application before the Union of India for removal or de-notification of its name under UAPA.

The Single-Judge Bench then disposed of the plea, after noting that Section 36(3) of UAPA empowered the Central government for admission and disposal of an application.

Representing the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma opposed the petition by submitting that the same must be dismissed with cost for the reason that a terrorist organisation has ‘woken’ up after 18 years of being declared a terrorist organisation.

He contended that at the time of amendment of UAPA in 2004 and after introduction of Sections 2(1)(m) and 35 listing out terrorist organisations in the Schedule, the petitioner organisation was already listed at serial no 29 and therefore, information on the same was already in public domain.

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