Rashid Paul

J&K HC issues notice to MHA in a petition challenging ban on JeI

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Srinagar, Mar 25: The J&K High Court on Monday directed a notice against Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a writ petition seeking stay on the operation of the government order banning Jamaat-e-Islami, a socio-religious and political organization of Jammu and Kashmir.

Justice Tashi directed a notice against Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Union of India through its Secretary asking it to respond the issue within two weeks.

The petitioner Mehraj Azeem, a 61-years-old citizen of the Kashmir from Nishat sought a direction to Government of India to stay its order of 28th of February 2019 that imposed an immediate ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).

The applicant established a prima facie case and tried to demonstrate that irreparable loss, hardship and injury is likely to be caused to the people in case appropriate interim relief is not granted at this stage.

He challenged the ban order as “illegal and arbitrary”, wherein a socio-religious and political organization has been declared to be “unlawful association” with immediate effect.

The grounds of ban have not been specified as is mandated under Section 3(2) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, he said adding “every such notification shall specify the grounds on which it is issued and such other particulars as the Central government may consider necessary.”

The petitioner said that Jamaat is a socio-religious organization working in J&K within the framework of law contributing to the advancement of human resource development for the larger good of the society without any consideration of faith, gender or color.

“As an organization it is not involved in any unlawful activity that harms the social fabric of the state and there are no justifiable grounds that should invite ban on this social organization,” he said.

The petitioner seeking logic behind the ban said “grounds” are not opinions or subsidiary evidence, they should comprise of facts which substantiate the notification, it should include particulars with regards to the dates of the offences, details of the FIRs registered by the police or the details of the pending prosecution.

“Grounds as it has been marked in the case of Vakil Singh V/S State of J&K, 1974, must contain the pith and substance of primary facts but not subsidiary facts or evidential details,” demanded the petitioner.

He said in the petition that the decision to declare an association “unlawful” cannot be merely effected by the production of the notification, and that the grounds have to be spelt out.

“Free speech and right to form unions/associations is intrinsic to a democratic polity. The petitioner is challenging the impugned notification and provisions of the Act under grounds available to him under law,” he said.

The government has banned the Jamaat-i-Islami as “an unlawful association” under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

In a notification, the government said “JeI has been indulging in activities which are prejudicial to internal security and public order, and have the potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the country.”

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