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"Can't Say UAPA Not Attracted": Gauhati HC Denies Relief To Man Booked For Alleged FB Post Glorifying Tehreek-E-Taliban

Sparsh Upadhyay
22 March 2022 10:48 AM GMT
Cant Say UAPA Not Attracted: Gauhati HC Denies Relief To Man Booked For Alleged FB Post Glorifying Tehreek-E-Taliban
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The Gauhati High Court recently refused to quash an FIR registered against a man booked under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act 1967 and Indian Penal Code for allegedly praising and glorifying 'Tehreek-e-Taliban' through his Facebook Post."At this initial stage it cannot be said that the action incorporated in Clause (a), (b), and (c) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 39 of the...

The Gauhati High Court recently refused to quash an FIR registered against a man booked under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act 1967 and Indian Penal Code for allegedly praising and glorifying 'Tehreek-e-Taliban' through his Facebook Post.

"At this initial stage it cannot be said that the action incorporated in Clause (a), (b), and (c) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is not done with the intention to further the activities of a terrorist organization," remarked the Bench of Justice Robin Phukan as it refused to quash the FIR.

The case in brief

Essentially, the bench was hearing an application moved by one Taher Ahmed Barbhuiya/applicant under Section 482 CrPC seeking to quash an FIR registered against him U/S 120 (B)/153(A)/505(1)(c)/ 505(2) IPC R/W Section 39 of the UAPA [Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization].

The case against him was registered on the allegations that on August 21, 2021, he had uploaded one incriminating post in his Facebook account wherein he had written on a group thus: "Ek Itihash Srishti Holo, Taliban Jindabad" which means "A history has been created, long live Taliban"

It was also alleged in the FIR that the post has praised and glorified 'Tehreek-e-Taliban' which is in fact a terrorist organization and it had waged prolonged violent war against a democratically elected Govt. in Afghanistan.

While the investigation in the instant case was in progress, the petitioner approached the Court by filing the instant petition for quashing the aforementioned FIR on the following grounds:-

  • That, he has not posted any incriminating message in his Facebook account as alleged in the FIR, rather he has written a Facebook post by criticizing the then situations in Afghanistan and he criticized the Taliban and applauded the American soldier for the rescue mission;
  • That, Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 is not attracted in this case in view of the judgment of Hon'ble Supreme Court in Union of India vs. Yasmeen Mohammad Zahid @ Yasmeen.

High Court's observations 

At the outset, the Court observed that the Taliban had fought a prolonged violent war against a democratically elected Government in Afghanistan and it had targeted Indian citizens through violent means.

Against this backdrop, the Court noted that the petitioner, through his communal social media post, promoted enmity and disharmony on the ground of religion and communities, in criminal conspiracy with other like-minded persons. 

Further, stressing that the Taliban is eager to destabilize India, the Court remarked thus:

"He (Petitioner) had eulogized 'Tehreek-e-Taliban', a terrorist organization, by his social media post. No doubt the said organization has no foothold or presence in India. But, they have targeted Indian citizens through violent means; committed atrocities against women & girls and provided patronage to drug trafficking and have been promoting terrorism from Afghanistan and they have also forged alliances with groups, states, and interests that are bent on creating chaos and committing a terrorist attack in India in order to destabilize our country."

The Court also remarked that the I.O. had collected sufficient materials in support of the accusation made in the FIR which discloses commission of a cognizable offence by the petitioner.

In view of these observations, the Court further underscored that it can't embark upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR/complaint at this stage, and therefore, concluded that it cannot be said that the assertions made in the FIR are unbelievable.

"In the given facts and circumstances on the record, and in view of the submissions made at the Bar, I am of the considered opinion that the assertions made in the FIR, in fact disclose the commission of a cognizable offence by the petitioner. At this initial stage, it cannot be said that the action incorporated in Clause (a), (b), and (c) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is not done with the intention to further the activities of the terrorist organization," remarked the Court as it dismissed the plea.
Case title - Md. Taher Ahmed Barbhuiya v. The State of Assam and another
Case Citation:

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