Delhi High Court rejects plea by Dukhtaran-e-Millat challenging Govt’s decision to declare it ‘militant organisation’

SRINAGAR — The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by Kashmiri women outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) challenging the Centre government’s decision to declare it a ‘militant organisation’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Bar and Bench reported.

Dukhtaran-e-Millat is an all women outfit led by Asiya Andrabi and was declared a ‘militant organisation’ in 2004. Andrabi was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and is in jail at present.

According to the report, the group approached the High Court arguing that they got to know about them being declared a militant organisation only in 2018 when chargesheets were filed in court in 2018 against its members.

The report said, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, representing the Central government, argued that it is the prerogative of the government to decide who is a terrorist and who is not.

He said that though DeM was declared a terrorist organisation since 2004, the group chose to come to court only in 2022.

In his order, Justice Anish Dayal noted that UAPA provides that an application can be made to the Centre government to remove an organisation from the UAPA schedule.

“…a perusal of the provisions of the UAPA would show that Chapter VI provides for adding terrorist organisation and individual (as per Sections 35) and Section 36 provides that an application may be made to Centre government to exercise power under section 35(1)(c) to remove an organisation from the Schedule,” the Court noted.

However, a query by the court to the counsel appearing for DeM revealed that no such application had been moved.

The bench further noted that Section 36(3) of the UAPA empowers the government to prescribe a procedure for admission and denial of such an application.

The court, therefore, said that an alternative remedy prescribed under the statute is available to the to the petitioner.

“Accordingly in view of these provision, the petition is dismissed since an alternative remedy prescribed under the statutes is available to the petitioner.”