NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India issued notice in an appeal which is being moved by the Central government against the verdict of the Karnataka High Court which says that attending “jihadi meetings” of organizations which are not outlawed by the government does not amount to a “terrorist act”
A Bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli issued notice returnable in four weeks. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati appeared for the Central government.
In April this year, the Karnataka High Court had ruled that attending jihadi meetings, purchasing training materials, and organising training shelters for members of an organisation which is not banned by the government under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), will not amount to ‘terrorist act’ under Section 2(k) of UAPA.
A person charged with terror offences under the UAPA was, therefore, granted bail by a Division Bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice S Rachaiah, on the ground that the group he was associated with was not a banned organization.
“Admittedly, in the present case, the prosecution has not proved that accused no 11 has associated himself with any organization which is prohibited or barred under the provisions of the UA(P) Act. Admittedly, he is a member of Al-Hind group. It is not a prohibited organization under the Schedule of the UA(P) Act, 1967 and the chargesheet material does not depict that he was convicted for the offences involved or crimes or terrorist activities… there are no reasonable grounds for for believing the accusation against the accused no 11 prima facie true,” the High Court had said.
As per the prosecution, on information received by the police, a case was registered against 17 accused persons.
The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which during its probe found more information about the appellants before the High Court.
Later, a chargesheet was filed against them under the provisions of Sections 18 (punishment for conspiracy) 18A (organising of terrorist camps) 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) and 39 (offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The two accused had filed for bail, which was rejected by the trial court on the grounds that there was sufficient material indicating their involvement in the alleged crime, following which they approached the High Court.
The Central government has now moved the Supreme Court in appeal against the High Court verdict.