The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear on October 13 a batch of petitions, including one of the Centre, relating to the government's decisions to ban Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from time to time. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud decided to segregate the writ petitions challenging provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act from those related to the ban on SIMI and fixed the former for hearing separately on November 9. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, headed by Delhi High Court judge Justice Suresh Kait, in 2014 had confirmed the Centre's decision to extend by another five years, that is till 2019, the ban on SIMI. The banned outfit has filed appeals in the apex court against every ban order passed by the tribunal from time to time since 2001. The Centre had also filed an appeal in the top court in 2008 against an order passed by Justice Gita Mittal tribunal lifting the ban on SIMI. The tribunal had said that the evidence against the SIMI was not enough to justify the extension of ban under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
However, a day later, the Supreme Court stayed the order lifting the ban. Today, the court considered the statement of Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, that the pending pleas deal with various issues including the challenge to the ban imposed on SIMI and the validity of certain provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Ministry of Home Affairs, on February 6, 2014, had banned the SIMI for another five years beginning February 1, saying that if not curbed, the group will reorganise and "disrupt the secular fabric" of the country. Extending the ban, the MHA, in its notification, had listed 21 terror cases highlighting the alleged involvement of SIMI, including the rioting at Azad Maidan in Mumbai in 2012. The SIMI was proscribed under the UAPA since 2001 for alleged "anti-national" activities. The government has extended the ban several times since 2002 and higher courts have upheld the proscription.