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Supreme Court adjourns batch of petitions challenging validity of UAPA until Thursday

Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal suggested that petitioners consider approaching Tripura High Court first before the Supreme Court. They questioned the maintainability of PILs filed by individuals not directly affected by the UAPA

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 15.02.24, 06:11 AM
The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court File picture

The Supreme Court adjourned a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967, until Thursday.

Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal suggested that petitioners consider approaching Tripura High Court first before the Supreme Court. They questioned the maintainability of PILs filed by individuals not directly affected by the UAPA.

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Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, among others, has challenged the UAPA’s constitutional validity. Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi represented one petitioner, prompting questions about his locus standi. The court suggested focusing on personally aggrieved parties.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan represented two advocates and a journalist from Tripura. The Tripura government’s counsel objected to the petitioners bypassing the high court, suggesting they address their concerns there first.

Bhushan said the petitions had challenged the FIR as being an abuse of the process of law. “FIR for what? For tweeting ‘Tripura is burning’? When it is being widely reported?” Bhushan said while assailing the registration of criminal cases against his clients.

Bhushan also argued against FIRs under the UAPA, citing freedom of speech.

The counsel for the Tripura government said nothing prevented the petitioners
from moving a petition under CrPC Section 482 before the high court for quashing the FIRs and also the vires of the UAPA.

“Mr Bhushan, we take it that you don’t want to go back to high court?” Justice Trivedi asked. The court urged petitioners to decide whether to proceed or return to the
high court.

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