From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : UAPA
Mains level : Terror financing and money laundering
The Union Home Ministry has declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its front organizations as an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
PFI under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act (UAPA)
- The UAPA is aimed at the effective prevention of unlawful activity associations in India.
- Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
- It is an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA, which was allowed to lapse in 1995 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed in 2004.
- It was originally passed in 1967 under the then Congress government led by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- Till 2004, “unlawful” activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory. Following the 2004 amendment, “terrorist act” was added to the list of offences.
What are Unlawful Activities and Associations?
- The UAPA lays down the definitions and rules for designating an organization as an “unlawful association” if it is engaged in certain types of activities.
- Under Section 3 of the UAPA Act, the government has powers to declare an association “unlawful”.
- The government can then issue a notification designating such an organization as a terrorist organization if it believes that the organization is part of “terrorist activities.”
(1) Unlawful Activites
- Under section 2(o) of the UAPA, an unlawful activity in relation to an individual or association means – Any action taken by such an individual or association (whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise), –
- Works for the Cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union
- Disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to Disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; or
- which causes or is intended to cause Disaffection against India;
- Related and ancillary acts, including financing, support or promotion of any such activities are also “unlawful activity”.
(2) Unlawful Association
The UAPA also defines an “Unlawful Association” under section 2(p) as meaning any association,–
- which has for its object any unlawful activity, or which encourages or aids persons to undertake any unlawful activity, or of which the members undertake such activity or
- which encourages or aids persons to undertake any such activity, or of which the members undertake any such activity
Reading the ban on PFI
- At present, the MHA notification published has said that the PFI and its affiliated organisations are being notified as “Unlawful Associations” with immediate effect.
- The charges against PFI are-
- Pursuing a secret agenda to radicalize a particular section of society
- Working towards undermining the concept of democracy and
- Showing sheer disrespect towards the constitutional authority and constitutional set up of the country
- Gathering funds and ideological support from outside the country
- Money laundering
Immediate trigger for PFI’s ban
- The PFI is accused of engaging in violent and barbaric acts.
- Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI include chopping off the limb of a college professor, cold-blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing other faiths.
- It has been allegedly involved in obtaining explosives to target prominent people and places and destruction of public property.
What does the ‘ban’ mean?
- The notification means that the membership of, support or financing to the PFI and the allied banned organizations, is now ILLEGAL.
- Any person who is a member of these organisations can face arrest, and joining membership of these organisations is a criminal offence.
- The government can also seize the properties, bank accounts and offices connected to these organisations.