Supreme Court Reverses Bail for Alleged PFI Members, Cites National Security Concerns

The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a Madras High Court decision that had previously granted bail to eight individuals accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The accused, alleged operatives of the Popular Front of India (PFI), were instructed by the Supreme Court to surrender immediately and return to custody, highlighting the court’s emphasis on national security.

Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal, presiding over the bench, delivered a clear verdict, rejecting the high court’s earlier ruling. “The impugned order passed by the high court is set aside,” the bench declared, underscoring the gravity of national security and the risks associated with terrorism-linked activities.

This decision came in response to a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which contested the high court’s bail judgment. The NIA described the PFI as a fundamentalist Islamic organization, alleging its aim was to establish a Muslim rule in India governed by Sharia law by the year 2047.

The eight accused—Barakathullah, Idris, Mohamed Abuthahir, Khalid Mohammed, Syed Ishaq, Khaja Mohaideen, Yasar Arafath, and Fayaz Ahmed—were arrested in September 2022. Their alleged activities included conspiring to commit acts of terror, recruiting members to propagate their extremist ideology, and conducting mass drills in combat uniforms, purportedly training participants to engage in violent acts against other religious communities.

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The Supreme Court’s ruling reflects its stringent stance on activities perceived as threats to India’s sovereignty and public security, particularly in cases involving allegations of terrorism and radical extremism.

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