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Members of banned organizations cannot be treated as criminals by police until they indulge in or incite violence, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

“Mere membership of a banned organization will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites public disorder by violence or incitement to violence,” a bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said.

The order can have a bearing on the plans of outlawed outfits, which include terror and insurgent groups.  The list of 32 banned organizations on the website of the ministry of home affairs includes Al Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Students’ , Movement of India [SIMI], CPI[Maoist] and allied formations,  militant groups in the north-east,  Khalistan Commando Force,  Jammu& Kashmir Liberation Front, International Sikh Youth Federation, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Al Badr, among others. Exactly a month ago, the same bench had upheld bail to a doctor arrested for treating

One of those accused of chopping a Kerala lecturer’s palm.  The Jan 3 Judgment had said:  “ Mere membership of a banned organization will not incriminate a person unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or does an act intended to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence.

The Supreme Court’s Friday ruling is part of a judgment acquitting Arup Bhuyan, who was convicted by a Guwahati court under the now lapsed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities [prevention] Act.

 

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