Centre may challenge order on banned groups members next week
The government`s view is that authorities cannot wait for each individual member to commit any criminal act and it is liable to take action against him since being a member of a banned organisation.
New Delhi: The Centre is considering moving the Supreme Court next week to challenge its order that members of banned groups cannot be treated as criminals till they indulge in violence, arguing that police cannot wait for
them to carry out terror acts.
The central government would move a Constitution bench of the apex court to challenge the order of the two-judge bench which recently had said that mere membership of a banned group will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public
disorder by violence or incitement to violence, sources said.
"The Supreme Court decision on the members of a banned organisation is a great concern to us. We will seek a review because of its implication... so serious national implications. We will ask a constitution bench to take a view
on it," Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai had told a news agency last week.
The government`s view is that authorities cannot wait for each individual member to commit any criminal act and it is liable to take action against him since being a member of a banned organisation, he subscribes to the ideology of that group which believes in violence.
The sources contended that if the government would not challenge the apex court order, "even members of al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Toiba may open offices in India saying that they would not indulge in violent acts.
"Freedom of expression is one issue but joining an organisation which indulges in violence is a completely different matter," they said.
Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra`s February 4 ruling was part of a judgment acquitting Arup Bhuyan, convicted by a Guwahati court under the now lapsed anti-terror law Terrorist and Disruptive Activities
Bhuyan was a suspected member of the outlawed ULFA which figures at the top of the Home Ministry`s list of banned organisations.
The trial court had convicted Bhuyan based on his confession to police, admissible as evidence under TADA. Bhuyan had appealed in Supreme Court.
Allowing his petition, the court said his conviction was based on "a very weak kind of evidence" and could not be sustained in the absence of corroborative material.
On the confessions, Justices Katju and Misra expressed strong views.
"...As is well known, the widespread and rampant practice in the police in India is to use third-degree methods for extracting confessions from the alleged accused. Hence, the courts have to be cautious in accepting confessions made to the police by the alleged accused," the Bench had said.