Supreme Court agrees to take up petition challenging UAPA validity : The Tribune India

Supreme Court agrees to take up petition challenging UAPA validity

Supreme Court agrees to take up petition challenging UAPA validity


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26

The Supreme Court today agreed to take up a petition challenging the validity of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which allegedly has “manifestly arbitrary” provisions, as the definition of “unlawful activity” was quite wide and expansive, having a chilling effect on free speech.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit posted the matter for hearing on October 18 after senior counsel Arvind Datar, representing petitioner Foundation of Media Professionals, pointed out that there were arbitrary provisions in the Act. The Bench asked the advocates appearing in other connected matters to be sent intimation.

Describing the Act as a political tool disguised as an anti-terror law, the foundation alleged it was being misused by the government to target all forms of dissent.

The foundation submitted that inclusion of written, spoken, and artistic works within the definition of unlawful activity amounted to a chilling effect on the freedom of speech as the definitions of unlawful activity and terrorist act did not mandate intention.

“The definition of ‘unlawful activity’ includes ‘disaffection against India’ which does not have a defined meaning under the Act and can be used to target anyone against whom the government harbours a grudge to someone who may have a contrary point of view. It is submitted that ‘unlawful activity’ as a category exists only for the state to quell opposition, and in that sense is arbitrary and undemocratic,” the petitioner submitted.

Urging the top court to declare the UAPA unconstitutional for being manifestly arbitrary and violative of right to equality, right to free speech and right to life and liberty under Article 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution, the foundation said, it was a gross assault on the freedoms protected under these provisions, insofar as it granted excessive and overwhelming powers to the state to act against associations and individuals critical of the ruling party or the “majoritarian sentiments”.

No to PIL on yoga, naturopathy

The SC refused to entertain a PIL against the exclusion of yoga and naturopathy from the ambit of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM) Act, saying it was a policy matter to be decided by the government. “We cannot go into this. This is for consideration of the government,” the SC said.

Notice to Centre on plea over drug mafia

Taking cognisance of a letter petition highlighting the problem of drug mafia network in the country, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit appointed advocate Shoeb Alam as amicus curiae to assist it and posted the matter for hearing on October 18.

#Justice UU Lalit #supreme court

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