Madras High Court: Mere Threats of ISIS Association does not constitute offence under UAPA

Madras Hc Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: November 17, 2023 at 00:35 IST

The Madras High Court, while granting bail to an individual accused under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), recently ruled that merely threatening a person by claiming association with ISIS terrorists does not, by itself, constitute an offense under the UAPA.

The court emphasized that while such threats may be considered offenses, they fall outside the scope of the UAPA.

The bench, comprising Justice SS Sundar and Justice Sunder Mohan, highlighted that the prosecution must establish independent evidence of support to a terrorist organization. Merely claiming affiliation with an ISIS terrorist, the court asserted, does not automatically imply support for the organization under Section 39 of the UAPA.

The materials presented by the prosecution were found insufficient to demonstrate an intention to support a terrorist organization.

The court clarified that handling funds for the prime accused, as indicated by the presented materials, differs from actively supporting a terrorist organization. The bench stressed that, especially when alleging conspiracy under the UAPA Act, the prosecution must explicitly outline the agreed-upon terrorist act.

The court, in reference to the case of Mohamed Irfan challenging the denial of bail, noted that the Final report was based on surmises and conjectures, lacking concrete evidence to charge him under the UAPA.

Irfan argued that the prosecution could only establish his association with the prime accused, not the terrorist organization. He asserted his role as a meat dealer supplying meat to the prime accused during the Bakrid festival.

While opposing bail, the prosecution contended that Irfan had threatened witnesses by claiming that the prime accused and others were ISIS terrorists, indicating a potential danger to witnesses.

The court, however, acknowledged that even a grave suspicion is sufficient for framing charges, but when considering bail, a different standard is applied.

Regarding the restrictions under Section 43D of the UAPA, the court clarified that these restrictions do not imply the deprivation of basic human or constitutional rights.

The court emphasized that while the restriction means courts cannot grant bail without proper justification, it does not infringe upon fundamental rights.

In conclusion, the court found that the requisite intention to support a terrorist organization could not be inferred from the presented materials.

With charges yet to be framed and the trial unlikely to conclude within a reasonable time, the court granted bail to Mohamed Irfan, highlighting the principle that pre-trial detention should not be indefinite.

Case Title: Mohamed Irfan v Union of India

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