A UAPA tribunal headed by Delhi High Court sitting judge Justice Mukta Gupta has upheld the five year extension of the ban on Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI) notified by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on January 31 this year.
It is understood from sources familiar with the development that the tribunal passed the order on July 29 holding that there were valid reasons to ratify the extension of ban.
The Tribunal, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967(UAPA), was constituted by a notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on February 21, 2019.
As per Section 4(1) of the UAPA, a declaration of an association as unlawful by the Central Government should be referred to a Tribunal consisting of a sitting High Court judge within thirty days of notification of the ban. The Tribunal has to give its decision within six moths of ban notification.
Members of general public can give their views on the ban before the one-member Tribunal by bringing relevant materials on record with supporting affidavits.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, Senior Advocate Sachin Datta, Advocates Rajesh Ranjan Rastogi and Balendu Shekhar led the team of lawyers representing the Ministry of Home Affairs in the matter.
The Tribunal had held hearings at Pune, Aurangabad, Hyderabad and Munnar in May and June. Neither the organization nor its members have appeared before it. A person, claiming to be an ex-SIMI member, has filed an application opposing the ban. However, the Ministry took objection to it by saying that a person cannot participate in the proceedings claiming to be an ex-member.
In the hearing held at Pune on May 3 & 4, officers from the Maharashtra CID, ATS and Intelligence had stated that ban on SIMI was essential to maintain national security. They said that SIMI operatives had hands in the 2001 Mumbai blasts, 2006 Mumbai local train blasts and 2010 Pune German bakery blasts.
A Maharashtra based Muslim organization, Mulnivasi Muslim Manch (MMM), had approached the Tribunal in its hearing held at Aurangabad on May 17 & 18 in opposition of the ban. Anjum Inamdar, president of MMM, said that SIMI members were trapped in false cases.
SIMI was banned in 2001, following the September 11 attacks in USA. The ban was extended from time to time. In the notification issued on January 31 extending the ban for another five years, the MHA listed 58 cases in which SIMI members were allegedly involved. These included the blasts in Bodh Gaya in 2017 and at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in 2014, and the jailbreak in Bhopal in 2014.