Govt sets up tribunal to adjudicate PFI's ban justified or not

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New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday set up a tribunal comprising Delhi High Court judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma to adjudicate whether sufficient grounds were available for declaring the Popular Front of India (PFI) and eight associate groups as unlawful.

The Union home ministry issued a notification, announcing the formation of the tribunal.

"The Central Government hereby constitutes an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Popular Front of India and its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women's Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as unlawful association," the notification said.

Earlier, the Department of Justice in the law ministry had sent a communication conveying that Justice Sharma will head the tribunal.

Once an organisation is banned under the UAPA, a tribunal is set up by the government to adjudicate whether there is sufficient ground for the decision.

According to the procedure, the home ministry requests the law ministry to name a sitting judge of high court as presiding officer of the tribunal.

The law minister then requests the chief justice of the high court concerned to recommend a judge to head the tribunal.

The PFI and its associates were banned by the government for five years under the UAPA on September 28, accusing them of having "links" with global terror groups like the ISIS.

Ban on these organisations followed a number of action against them and that include seizure of properties, freezing of bank accounts and complete prohibition of normal activities.

The PFI was accused of multiple cases of violent protests in different parts of the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), alleged forced conversions, radicalisation of Muslim youths, money laundering and maintaining links with banned groups.

It was also accused of cold blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing the other faiths, collection of explosives to target prominent people and places, support to Islamic State, and destruction of public property. PTI

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