SIMI case goes to new bench of SC

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (UNI) A new bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice S B Sinha, will hear on October 13 the appeal of the Union government against Delhi High Court order lifting the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Earlier, a bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, had stayed the operation of the Delhi High Court order dated August 5, vide which Justice Geeta Mittal had held that the evidence to justify the ban on the SIMI was inadequate and weak.

On the last hearing, the apex court had extended the ban on the outfit till the second week of October, and now the case has been fixed for hearing on October 13, the re-opening day of the apex court after the Dussehra holidays.

The Union government had extended the ban on SIMI for another two years, vide notification dated February 8 for its alleged involvement in terrorist and anti-national activities.

SIMI was banned for the first time in 1998 for having alleged links with terrorist outfits in the country as well as outside it.

The ban was challenged by the organisation in the Delhi High Court, which lifted the ban and quashed the government notification issued under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Union government challenged the High Court order in the apex court. It contended that the High Court had overlooked strong evidence against SIMI activists, proving their links with mafia don and international fugitive Dawood Ibrahim and terrorist outfit al Qaeda.

According to the government, about 1900 SIMI activists were facing allegations for their involvement in various bomb blasts in cities like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Varanasi and Delhi and 89 cases were pending against those activists.

The bench headed by Justice Sinha is also hearing appeals filed by SIMI against earlier Delhi High Court orders upholding the ban on the organisation.

The Centre is going to plead with the apex court for extending the stay against the High Court order till final disposal of its appeal.

According to the Gujarat police, SIMI is now operating under the name of Indian Mujaheedin.

No counsel has made an appearance in the Supreme Court for SIMI till date.

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal is, however, appearing for former president of the organisation, who is challenging the government notification.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam is appearing for the Union government.

UNI SC SKB BD1247

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