Karnataka HC rejects SDPI’s plea to open its offices in Dakshina Kannada district

Court grants organisation liberty to approach dist judge for remedy
Karnataka High Court (Photo | EPS)
Karnataka High Court (Photo | EPS)

BENGALURU:  The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), questioning the sealing of its offices in Dakshina Kannada after the Government of India banned the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates.

The court, however, granted SDPI the liberty to approach the district judge for any remedy available under Section 8(8) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order after hearing the petition filed by the Social Democratic Party of India, represented by District General Secretary Anwar Sadath, Dakshina Kannada, questioning the notification dated September 28, 2022, and seeking directions to the deputy commissioner and police commissioner to remove the seals.  

SDPI was not one of the entities declared an associate of PFI, but the Social Democratic Party of India’s offices were sealed on allegations of them being used by the banned organisation.

“I decline to entertain the petition, reserving liberty to the petitioner to urge all the contentions before the district judge who is empowered to consider the issues under the Act,” the judge said.

According to the statement of objections filed by the state government, PFI is declared a banned organisation under Section 3 of the Act.

The court said it forms a seriously disputed question of fact. The notification by which the Union government directs the state government to act in a particular manner cannot be considered in the absence of any evidence.

More so, in the light of the contention that the state government has acted beyond the powers conferred on it would be neither here nor there as the state government has, on certain inputs to it, sealed the offices of the petitioner along with others. Merely because all the offices in Mangaluru are sealed and not anywhere else would not mean that evidence would not be required for the petitioner to prove its case in terms of Section 8 of the Act, the court observed.

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