Centre challenges verdict on membership of banned outfit
The Supreme Court has issued notice to Arup Bhuyan, who had been convicted under the TADA but whom it let off, on the Centre’s petition to recall the judgment that mere membership of a banned organisation “will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence.”
A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju (since retired) and Gyan Sudha Misra had on February 4, 2011 given the ruling while setting aside a judgment of the Designated Court, Assam in Guwahati, which convicted Mr. Bhuyan, under Section 3 (5) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, of being a member of United Liberation Front of Asom.
Now, the government petition, before another Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Gyan Sudha Misra, said the “judgment defies logic” as any member of a terrorist organisation could open an office anywhere and start recruiting people and the police would not be able to do anything. Authorities could not wait for each individual member of a banned outfit to commit any criminal act and the government was liable to take action as he/she subscribed to the ideology of that group which believed in violence.
Mr. Bhuyan was convicted by the Designated Court of being a member of the banned ULFA, on the basis of a confession which is admissible evidence under the TADA.
The Supreme Court, however, held that “Anup Bhuyan has denied that he was a member of ULFA. Even assuming he was a member of ULFA, it has not been proved that he was an active member,” and hence no offence was made out.
Sri Indra Das, another militant, was also let off on the same ground and the Centre sought clarification in both matters.
The Bench on Monday issued notice to Sri Indra Das also, after hearing Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran.