On January 19, the Delhi High Court dismissed a petition moved by the Kashmiri women outfit Dukhtaran-E-Millat (DeM) challenging the notification by the Central Government declaring it as a banned terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Central Government designated Dukhtaran-E-Millat as a terrorist organisation on December 30, 2004, and it is a part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which is run by Asiya Andrabi in Jammu & kashmir.
On January 19, the Bench of Justice Anish Dayal dismissed the plea and said petitioner’s organisation has another remedy available, which was not exercised.
Earlier, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma representing Union Government had raised the issue of maintainability of the petition and sought dismissal of it with cost. During arguments, he submitted that declaring an organisation/group a terrorist organisation is the prerogative of the Central Government. The outfit has sought quashing of the said notification through which it was declared unlawful under section 3 of UAPA and declared a terrorist organisation under section 2 (1)(M) of UAPA, 1967.
In the petition moved through advocate Nisha Narayan and Shariq Iqbal, the outfit has also sought a direction to the Centre to provide a copy of the notification banning the petitioner or a notification declaring it to be a terrorist organisation.
It has also sought a direction to the Centre to remove the petitioner from the list of the banned organisation under UAPA.
Senior Advocate Satish Tamata, the petitioner’s attorney, previously stated that one of the petitioners’ members filed an RTI request to learn more about the ban after learning for the first time that the petitioner had been branded a banned organisation under the UAPA, 1967.
On May 13, 2019, a reply was received from CPIO that the petitioner was added to the first Schedule of UAPA, 1967, through a notification of December 30, 2004, and no other information is available with them.
On July 19, 2019, the Joint Secretary (CTCR) First Appellate Authority dismissed the appeal filed in response to the RTI reply, according to the senior attorney.
On the other hand, ASG Chetan Sharma challenged the maintainability of the writ petition. He submitted that the petitioner organisation appears to be feigning ignorance and wrongly seeks the indulgence of this Court based on the reply to the RTI application in the year 2019.
It was submitted that notification relating to the petitioner organisation, which is a terrorist organisation is covered under Chapter VI of UAPA, 1967, and a reference to Chapter II has been wrongly made on behalf of the petitioner.
The ASG argued that the petition could not be considered after a delay of almost 20 years because the petitioner organisation is properly recorded in the First Schedule of the UAPA of 1967 at Serial No. 29. Further, no such presumption can be made that the petitioner was unaware of the Act of the Parliament, Sharma submitted.