New Delhi, Apr 20: A petition was on Monday moved in Delhi High Court challenging the constitutional validity of the existence and formation of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and seeking its "disbanding".
The plea, filed by an advocate, also sought quashing of a Look Out Circular (LOC) allegedly issued against him by IB to prevent him from travelling to Iraq to do relief work and oppose ISIS activities there as well as imposing of a Rs 10 crore penalty on the agency for its action.
While the court did not go into the issue of formation, existence and functioning of IB, it asked the agency to inform it by May 12 whether an LOC was issued against the advocate and if yes, what is its status.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher gave the direction on the plea of advocate Mehmood Pracha who has sought disbanding of IB, saying the agency has not been set up under any statute and is not accountable to anyone.
Pracha has said,"...IB has become an uncontrollable all-powerful, extra-constitutional establishment in itself which runs parallel to the democratically-elected government and regularly interferes and influences opinions and decisions in all spheres of governance with unfettered impunity.."
His plea has contended that IB "must be forthwith brought under a legislation laying down clearly its charter, duties, functions, powers etc."
The petition has also challenged the Home Ministry 2010 office memorandum on issuing Look-Out Circulars saying it "does not flow from any enacted law".
Referring to the recent incident of Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai being restrained from travelling to London, Pracha said while she was alleged to have been campaigning against the policy of India but he and his associates were acting in consonance with the country's policy.
According to the petition, Pracha came to know about the LOC when he and five other delegates were on their way to Iraq on November 24, 2014, but were stopped from boarding their flight and an endorsement 'offloaded' was made on their passports.
The six persons were detained for several hours at the airport and the airport police station, the petition has alleged. The petition has said that passports of the five others travelling with Pracha were suspended with effect from November 24, last year, by a letter of December 2, 2014 and questioned how such retrospective action can be taken.
The December 2, 2014 order, however, was withdrawn by another letter of February 17, 2015, the petition said They had intended to travel to Iraq to discuss with the authorities there the modalities regarding the proposed humanitarian mission, for which they had received support of many volunteers, the petition claimed.
It has alleged that the government's action of "singling out and targeting the petitioner and restraining him from travelling to Iraq smacks of arbitrariness and non-application of the principles of natural justice especially when there are numerous other people travelling to Iraq every day from India."