New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Centre while hearing a petition that sought direction to declare the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, unconstitutional. On a petition challenging the amended law, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that the apex court would examine the constitutional validity of the matter.
The petition was filed by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), an NGO, which said the amendments infringed upon the fundamental right to reputation and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution, without substantive and procedural due process.
“Notifying an individual as a terrorist without giving him an opportunity of being heard violates the individual’s right to reputation and dignity, which is a facet of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the plea said.
It added that condemning a person unheard on a mere belief of the government was unreasonable, unjust, unfair, excessive, disproportionate and violated the due process. It further said section 35 of the amended Act did not mention when a person could be designated as terrorist.
The petition contended that the amendments were grossly disproportionate and had no rational nexus between the objects and means adopted to meet them. The petition sought a direction from the court declaring sections 35 and 36 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act as unconstitutional and void as those violated the fundamental rights of individuals.
The contentious the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, which gives powers to the central government to designate an individual as terrorist and seize his properties was passed by the parliament last month and it received the President’s ascent on August 9.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Narendra Modi-led Centre, under the new anti-terror law, declared Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Mumbai terror attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi and fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim as individual terrorists.
(With agency inputs)