PFI ban under UAPA


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    About UAPA 

    • The UAPA is India’s main law against terrorism and terrorist activities.
    • It allows the government to declare an organisation an “unlawful association” or a “terrorist organisation”, which is often colloquially described as a “ban” on the organisations.
      • Under Section 3 of the UAPA Act, the government has powers to declare an association “unlawful”. 

    How is an “unlawful association” defined?

    • Section 2(1)(p) of the UAPA defines an “unlawful association” as an association which has for its object any unlawful activity or offence defined under Sections 153A or 153B of the Indian Penal Code — that is, promoting enmity between different groups and making imputations, assertions that are prejudicial to national integration. 
    • An unlawful association is also one that “encourages or aids persons to undertake any unlawful activity, or of which the members undertake such activity”

    The process to declare an association unlawful

    • Under Section 4 of the UAPA, the government is mandated to send the notification to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Tribunal within 30 days of issuing the gazette notification to have the ban ratified. 
      • The Ministry will have to make a reference to the Tribunal along with details of cases the National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, and state police forces have registered against PFI and its cadres across the country.
    • The Tribunal, which is required to be headed by a retired or sitting judge of a High Court, will then issue a show-cause notice to the PFI asking it to reply in writing about why it should not be banned. 
      • After arguments from both sides, the Tribunal can hold an inquiry to decide within six months on whether there is sufficient evidence to declare PFI an “unlawful association”.
      • The ban becomes applicable for a period of five years once the Tribunal approves it.

    Consequences of being declared unlawful

    • Declaring an organisation an unlawful organisation, as has happened in the case of the PFI now, has serious consequences in law, which include the criminalisation of its membership and the forfeiture of the properties of the organisation.
    • Under Section 7 of the UAPA, the government has power to prohibit the use of funds of an unlawful association and,
    • Under Section 8, all places that are used by the unlawful association can be notified and seized.