Mere Claim of Association with ISIS Terrorist Not Enough to Show Support to Outfit: Madras HCnewsbhunt


Reported By: Salil Tiwari

Last Updated: November 21, 2023, 02:01 IST

While also highlighting that Irfan had been in custody since February 2022, the HC exercised its powers to grant bail to him.
(File photo: IANS)

While also highlighting that Irfan had been in custody since February 2022, the HC exercised its powers to grant bail to him.
(File photo: IANS)

The high court, after perusal of the evidence, including the statement of a protected witness allegedly threatened by the accused Irfan, concluded that while the threat might be an offence, it doesn’t necessarily qualify as support to a terrorist organisation

In a significant verdict, the Madras High Court has ruled that merely threatening someone by claiming association with an ISIS terrorist does not automatically establish one’s membership in the organisation amounting to an offence under Section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

“The prosecution has to establish the support to the terrorist organisation by independent evidence,” said the division bench of Justices SS Sundar and Sunder Mohan to one Mohamed Irfan, a meat dealer accused of conspiring to establish Islamic rule in India.

The order was passed in Irfan’s appeal against rejection of his bail plea by a Special NIA court in a case, where he was accused of offences under Section 18 of the UAPA for conspiring to commit a terrorist act and Section 39 relating to support given to a terrorist organisation.

According to the prosecution, Sathick Batcha, the primary accused in a case at the Mayiladuthurai police station, was intercepted with arms in a Mahindra Scorpio on February 21, 2022. Allegedly, Irfan and the other accused were in the car, leading to their arrest on charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.

The case took a turn when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over, re-registering it under relevant IPC sections and UAPA provisions. The NIA alleged that Irfan, associated with Batcha, aimed to establish Islamic rule in India akin to the ISIS ideology.

The NIA cited conspiracy meetings at specific locations and referred to witness statements and WhatsApp group messages as evidence. The court, however, emphasised that a mere threat, even if associating with ISIS, does not automatically constitute support to a terrorist organisation under Section 39 of the UAPA.

The bench, after perusal of the evidence, including the statement of a protected witness allegedly threatened by Irfan, concluded that while the threat might be an offence, it doesn’t necessarily qualify as support to a terrorist organisation. The court highlighted the need for independent evidence to establish such support.

Additionally, the court noted that the allegation against Irfan that he handled funds for Batcha did not infer support for a terrorist organisation, distinguishing between support to an individual and support to a terrorist organisation. Support to an individual is different from support to a terrorist organisation, the bench said.

Accordingly, while also highlighting that Irfan had been in custody since February 2022, the bench exercised its powers to grant bail to him.



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