The Bombay High Court Wednesday dismissed an application by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that challenged a special court order to drop a section of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against Areeb Majeed. The section charged Majeed, an alleged IS recruit, with being a member of a terrorist outfit.
A special NIA court had in February passed an order stating that Majeed could be charged under section 20 of the UAPA, because when he allegedly joined the IS, the organisation had not been declared a terrorist organisation by the Indian government.
According to the NIA, Majeed and three others from Kalyan left the country to join the IS in May 2014 on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage. In November 2014, Majeed was arrested on his return to India.
The application filed by the NIA states: “The Special Judge erred in appreciating the arguments of prosecution as well as evidence on record for framing of the charges under Section 20 of Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act.” It adds that the judge’s finding that the IS was not a banned terrorist organisation at the time of registration of FIR was also wrong.
“Areeb Majeed and his other three wanted associates were in association to commit a terrorist act,” said the application, adding that they were members of a terrorist gang and charges under section 20, as amended, were required to be framed against him. The High Court, however, on Wednesday, said there was no material to prove this charge.
The charges Majeed is still facing include those under Section 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and Section 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of UAPA, along with Section 125 (waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the Government of India) of the Indian Penal Code. His bail application is pending before the lower court, which is likely to frame charges against him.