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Mere membership of banned outfit offence under UAPA: SC
New Delhi: Reversing its earlier decision that membership of a banned organisation is not an offence as long as the member does not indulge in crimes, the Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the validity of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) provision which attributes criminality to memberships.
A bench of Justices MR Shah, CT Ravikumar and Sanjay Karol upheld the validity of Section 10(a)(i) of the UAPA, which was earlier read down by a division bench of the top court in 2011. The two-judge bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra in 2011 had ruled that mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence.
The apex court on Friday held that holding membership in an association declared unlawful by the Central government is sufficient to constitute an offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
It said that if a person continues membership in an organisation, even after it is banned, he would be liable to be punished.
The apex court said that mere membership in the unlawful association was sufficient to constitute an offence under UAPA.
The top court allowed petitions of the Centre and the Assam government seeking a review of the apex court's 2011 verdicts on membership of banned outfits.
On February 3, 2011, the apex court had acquitted suspected United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) member Anup Buyan, who was held guilty by a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court on the basis of his alleged confessional statement before the Superintendent of Police. It had then said mere membership in a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence. (ANI)