After its latest order extending the ban on the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the government has set up a tribunal headed by Delhi High Court judge Justice Suresh Kait to examine validity of the ban under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The first hearing is scheduled on Tuesday in the Delhi HC, said officials. As per UAPA provisions, the ban has to be approved by a tribunal headed by a sitting HC judge within six months of the government notification.
The tribunal will travel across the country to examine evidence against the organisation. The government had cited SIMI cadre being involved in anti-national activities in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Scores of alleged SIMI operatives are behind bars on charges of terrorism and the tribunal will examine evidence gathered by the state police, said a senior Home Ministry official.
The tribunal notification issued on February 27 reads, “The central government hereby constitutes the “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal,”….for adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring SIMI as an unlawful association…”
In its latest ban on SIMI, the MHA said, “the Central government is of the opinion that if unlawful activities of SIMI are not curbed immediately, it will continue its subversive activities and reorganize its activists… disrupt secular fabric, propagate anti-national sentiments, escalate secessionism by supporting militancy and undertake activities prejudicial to integrity and security of the country.” This is the seventh ban on SIMI, the first was in 2001 and the tribunal upheld the ban barring in 2008 when Justice Geeta Mittal ordered the lifting of the ban on technical grounds. The MHA in its latest ban detailed 21 cases of terror crime highlighting alleged involvement of SIMI.