SC to re-examine verdict on membership of banned outfits

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said that it would take a relook at its earlier judgment which said that mere membership of a banned organisation was not a crime.

The apex court bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra agreed to examine the government plea seeking the recall of its Feb 4, 2011, order holding that mere membership of a banned organisation was not an offence.

The plea for the recall of the order passed by the apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju (since retired) and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra was made by the Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran.

The apex court by its order had said that the Section 3(5) of the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act could not be read literally, as it would violate Articles 19 and 21 of the constitution.

“Hence, mere membership of a banned organisation 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,” the court said.

The court said this while setting aside the order passed in a TADA case March 28, 2007, by the designated court in Guwahati in Assam.

Petitioner Arup Bhuyan was alleged to be a member of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). Bhuyan was convicted under the TADA which made mere membership of a banned organisation a criminal act.

While setting aside the TADA court’s order, the apex court’s Feb 4, 2011 order said: “Even assuming he was a member of the ULFA it has not been proved that he was an active member and not a mere passive member.”

– IANS

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