18 Jan 2023 5:36 AM GMT
The Central Government has filed a counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court justifying the ban imposed on Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI). Extensively referring to the Constitution of SIMI, which speaks of objectives like "establishment of Islamic system in my country", the Centre said that such a Constitution "must be seen as in direct conflict with the democratic sovereign setup of...
The Central Government has filed a counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court justifying the ban imposed on Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI). Extensively referring to the Constitution of SIMI, which speaks of objectives like "establishment of Islamic system in my country", the Centre said that such a Constitution "must be seen as in direct conflict with the democratic sovereign setup of India and should not be allowed to be perpetuated in our secular society".
The Centre pointed out that SIMI came into existence on 25.4.1977 and "“Jehaad” (religious war) for the cause of Islam" and "Destruction of Nationalism and establishment of Islamic Rule or Caliphate" were some of its objectives.
"The organization does not believe in nation-state or in the Indian Constitution including its secular nature. It further regards idol worship as a sin, and propagates its ‘duty’ to end such practices", the affidavit states while highlighting that SIMI was used by various fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organizations operating inter alia from the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Also, terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-eToiba have successfully managed to penetrate into the SIMI cadres to achieve their anti-national goal.
The affidavit was filed in response to a special leave petition filed by one Humam Ahmad Siddiqui, who claimed to be an ex-member of the organization, challenging the 2019 notification extending the ban imposed by the SIMI under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Opposing the petition, the Centre said :
"The evidence brought on record clearly and unambiguously establishes that despite being banned since 27th September, 2001, except for a brief period in between, the SIMI activists are associating, meeting, conspiring, acquiring arms & ammunitions, and indulging in activities which are disruptive in character and capable of threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. They are in regular touch with their associates and masters based in other countries. Their actions are capable of disrupting peace and communal harmony in the country. Their stated objectives are contrary to the laws of our country. Especially their object of establishing Islamic rule in India can, under no circumstances, be permitted to subsist".
It was stressed that despite the ban, SIMI continues to operate undercover and many front organizations help it in various activities including collection of funds, circulation of literature, regrouping of cadres, etc.
The Centre also questioned the locus standi of the petitioner by stating that only the office-bearers can challenge the ban as per t Sections 4(2) and (3) of UAPA. The ban on SIMI does not result in any infringement of fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(c) and is a reasonable restriction in the interests of sovereignty and security of the country.
"The existence of SIMI is proved on account of the current and unlawful activities undertaken by its activists/members in furtherance of the unlawful objectives of SIMI. These activists/members of SIMI inter alia are involved in cases relating to terrorist activities, wherein, these members have been identified by various witnesses and co-accused. Furthermore, various publications/literature of SIMI have been seized from these persons at their behest. In this regard, material also shows that the continuation of the ban, and an immediate ban u/s 3(3) was also needed in light of the clandestine unlawful activities which had not ceased and were continuing after the first and subsequent bans. The Ld. Tribunal was correct in stating that the ban u/s 3(3) was proper if evidence establishes that unlawful activities of the organization are still being carried on. The above material shows that the immediate ban on SIMI was required for the sake of security, sovereignty and integrity of our country. Therefore, the contents of the notification dated 31/01/2019 was appropriate and justified", the affidavit said.
The petitions challenging the SIMI ban are listed for hearing before a bench led by Justice SK Kaul.
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, 2019 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. In August 2019, a UAPA Tribunal comprising Delhi High Court judge Justice Mukta Gupta upheld the January 2019 notification extending the ban for 5 years.
Case : Humam Ahmad Siddiqui vs Union of India | SPECIAL LEAVE TO APPEAL (CIVIL) NO. 3804 OF 2021