The Central government has submitted before a division bench of the Bombay High Court that it did not find any material to pronounce right wing extremist group Sanatan Sanstha a ‘terror organisation’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Under S.35 of the UAPA, the Centre can impose a ban on an organisation and its activities, if it believes that such an organisation is involved in terrorist activities.
A bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice PD Naik was hearing a PIL filed by Vijay Rokade, who has claimed in his petition that the Sanstha is a terror outfit whose members have been involved in bombings in Panvel and Thane, hence, a ban must be imposed.
The Centre’s submission in court is significant at a time when many have questioned the Sanatan Sanstha’s background and men allegedly associated with the outfit are now accused in the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi.
It is alleged that Virendra Tawde, who is an accused in the murder Case of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, was the western commander of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), a fringe of the Sanatan Sanstha.
Dabholkar was murdered in 2013 while Pansare and Kalburgi were killed in 2015.
Sameer Gaikwad, who is a member of the Sanstha, is in jail for his alleged involvement in the murder of Govind Pansare, who was shot in Kolhapur last year.
While Dabholkar’s murder is being investigated by the CBI, Pansare’s killing is being probed by a Special investigation Team.
MM Kalburgi, a Kannada writer who spoke against superstitious practices, was murdered last year. A ballistics report submitted by Karnataka CID seeks to establish a link between all the three murders.
In a charge sheet filed against Tawde, the Central Bureau of Investigation has stated some significant facts.
According to Indian Express, the charge sheet has references to books written by Sanatan Sanstha founder Jayant Balaji Athavale, in his book entitled “Kshtaradharma Sadhana”.
Coming back to the PIL in Bombay HC, the bench has also directed all communication between the Centre and the state to be submitted before it within four weeks. In an affidavit filed in 2012, the state government had referred to a letter written by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to the Union Home Ministry wherein the state government had said that the “Sanstha is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act” as three cases of bomb blasts had been registered against it.
The court also enquired about the provision in law under which the Union government could ban an organisation that is governed by state laws. This case will now come up for hearing on December 7.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.