SC notice to government on SIMI ban
The Supreme Court yesterday issued notice to the central government on two pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, under which the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was banned six times since 2001
The court sought a response within 10 weeks on the petitions filed by two former SIMI members.
An apex court bench issued the notice after senior counsel UU Lalit, appearing for Humam Ahmad Siddiqui and Misbahul Islam, challenged the constitutionality of the Act. Lalit told the court that several petitions challenging the ban were pending before the court since 2002. He added that such bans were illegal and violated the fundamental rights of citizens and erstwhile members.
The petitioners also contested the latest two-year ban imposed on the SIMI in February. They have also challenged the ban before a tribunal headed by Justice VK Shali.
The petition said that the provisions of the Act were not only intrinsically flawed but the manner in which they were operationalised by the government breached Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution.
The petition said that though the SIMI ceased to exist as it was banned for the first time September 27, 2001, the government insisted that it continued to exist illegally.
The petition contended that the government’s claim was based almost entirely upon the alleged confessional statements of accused arrested in various cases.
The petition said that such evidence was inadmissible even against the accused themselves but it was being relied upon to continue the ban on SIMI.