The Jharkhand High Court Friday set aside a notification issued by the state government on February 21 this year, banning the Popular Front of India (PFI) on account of its members being “internally influenced” by ISIS. The state government had imposed the ban under Section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment (CLA) Act, 1908.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay pronounced the order on a petition filed by PFI state general secretary Abdul Wadud. A detailed copy of the order was not yet available.
Wadud and a few others had been named in an FIR — registered at Ranga police station in Sahibganj — as part of follow-up action to the ban. Two more FIRs were registered at Moffusil police station in Pakur and Sahebganj districts after searches at PFI offices on February 25.
After the court order, the petitioner’s counsel Abdul Allam said, “The High Court has set aside the notification of February 21. However, we are waiting for a copy of the order for details.”
The FIR against Wadud and others as follow-up action to the ban was likely to be quashed as the ground for the FIR — being in possession of material of a banned organisation — has ceased to exist, Wadud’s counsel said.
In his petition, Wadud sought quashing of the notification banning PFI on the ground that Section 16 of the CLA Act, 1908, had earlier been repealed. He also sought quashing of FIR registered against him as it was violative of Article 19 of the Constitution — related to freedom to form association.
In a statement after the ban, the state government said, “The decision to ban this organisation has been taken after taking concurrence of the Law Department… The members of this organisation are internally influenced by ISIS… Investigations have revealed that some members have gone to Syria from the South Indian states and are working for ISIS.”