UAPA case: Supreme Court sets aside Madras High Court verdict granting bail to 8 alleged PFI members

Court observed that national security is always of paramount importance and any act linked to terrorism is liable to be restricted.

ByPTI

Published May 22, 2024 | 6:08 PMUpdatedMay 22, 2024 | 6:09 PM

Supreme court on Manipur Violence

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 22 May, set aside a verdict of the Madras High Court which had granted bail to eight accused in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against alleged Popular Front of India (PFI) operatives, holding that national security is of paramount importance.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal directed the accused, who were granted bail by the high court on 19 October last year, to surrender forthwith and go back to jail.

“The impugned order passed by the high court is set aside,” the bench said while pronouncing its judgement.

Also Read: ED arrests 3 members of banned PFI in money-laundering case

Cites national security

The court observed it can’t be denied that national security is always of paramount importance and any act linked to terrorism is liable to be restricted.

The bench delivered its verdict on a plea filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the high court judgement granting bail to these accused.

The eight accused — Barakathullah, Idris, Mohamed Abuthahir, Khalid Mohammed, Syed Ishaq, Khaja Mohaideen, Yasar Arafath and Fayaz Ahmed — were arrested in September 2022.

On 20 October last year, the apex court posted the NIA’s plea challenging the high court order for hearing after advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for the anti-terror agency, mentioned it for urgent listing.

In its plea, the NIA had claimed that the PFI is a fundamentalist Islamic organisation and it was formed only to achieve the “dangerous goal” of establishing Muslim rule in India governed by Sharia law.

It had said an FIR was registered against the alleged office bearers, members and cadres of the PFI, which had been spreading the extremist ideology across Tamil Nadu after establishing its state headquarters at Purasaiwakkam in Chennai and offices in various districts of the state through their frontal organisations.

Also Read: NIA arrests suspected master trainer of banned PFI from his house in Kerala

The petition

The petition said the accused had “conspired to commit acts of terror, recruited members for furthering their extremist ideology and imparted training to commit terrorist activities, organised mass drills for displaying their might by gathering their members in combat uniforms, intending that participants shall be trained to use criminal force for violence against other religious communities to spread fear or alarm or insecurity.

“It is respectfully submitted that the leaders/cadres of PFI had formed the organisation only to achieve a dangerous goal of ‘Vision India 2047’, that is to make this country ruled by Muslims as per sharia law,” it had said.

The plea claimed tactical weapons training was being imparted and there was evidence on record which showed that PFI cadres were influenced, brainwashed and indoctrinated by the accused.

“All the acts were done by the accused in an effort to raise an armed militia to take up the fight for usurping and violating the sovereignty and integrity of the country,” it had alleged.

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