Allahabad High Court: In a criminal appeal filed by two members of Popular Front India (‘PFI’) (appellants-accused) under Section 21 of the National Investigation Act, 2008 against the order passed by Trial Court on the ground that the said order is illegal, unjust and improper, the division bench of Ramesh Sinha and Renu Agarwal, JJ. said that no satisfactory explanation has been given by the appellants about the seized objectionable articles including explosive substances recovered from them, thus, their involvement could not be ruled out. Further looking into their criminal antecedents and the fact that the trial is in progress, the Court refused to grant them bail.
In the case at hand, the First Information Report was lodged against the petitioners by Anti-Terror Squad (‘ATS’), based on a written report of the Special Task Force Inspector. The two accused persons were arrested by ATS on 16-2-2021 and a recovery of various contraband items was made from their possession.
The accused persons were charged for the offence under Sections 120-B, 121-A of the Penal Code, 1860, Sections 13, 16, 18, 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act, 1908 and Sections 3 read with 25 Arms Act, 1959.
The accused persons submitted that they are members of PFI which is a registered organization under the Societies Registration Act and not a banned organization, hence assembly of two or more than two persons is not unlawful. Further, the recovery of contraband items from the appellants is false and planted one, as there appears to be no independent or public witnesses, as all the eighteen witnesses as per the charge sheet are witnesses of police. The accused persons have been in jail since 17-2-2021 and though they have a criminal history of five cases, the same are registered in Kerala and are of minor offences. Thus, no cognizable offence is made out against them.
The Court noted that the accused persons had admitted that they are active members of PFI, and their aim and object is of giving training to the people for fighting against Hindu religious organisations and to promote the ideology of PFI. Also, a diary written in Malayalam was also recovered from the possession of appellants, disclosing their aim, object and ideology. In the diary “attack”, “burning”, “US”, “Ram Mandir” like words were mentioned in code words. Further the words “defense”, “enemy know everything”, “we should prepare”, “Muslims are strong”, “the root of coming our area leader”, “conspiracy” like words were also written.
It was further pointed out by the respondents that the explosives recovered from the appellants had been sent for examination, which were found to be high explosive. The respondents stated that it is true that PFI was not a banned organisation at the relevant point of time, but the same does not give the accused persons a liberty to indulge in any sort of antisocial activities.
The Court after considering the fact that seized objectionable articles including explosive substances were recovered from the accused persons , which was to be used by them to attack on senior leader of different Hindu Religious Organization and to blast different sensitive places of Uttar Pradesh, said that no satisfactory explanation has been given by the accused persons regarding the same. Thus, it cannot be said that their involvement could be ruled out. Also, looking into their criminal antecedents and the fact that the trial is in progress, which is fixed for framing charges against the accused persons by the Trial Court, the Court refused to grant bail to the accused per
[Ansad Badruddin v State of UP, 2022 SCC OnLine All 843, order dated 7-12-22]
Advocates who appeared in this case:
Counsel for Appellant:- Advocate Amarendra Pratap Singh;
Counsel for Respondent:- Government Advocate.
*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.