Passive membership of banned outfit will not make a person criminal: SC

The Supreme Court has held that passive membership of a banned outfit will not make a person criminal unless he is in person involved in violent activities. The ruling was passed by Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra which said, “Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence.” The order was passed on an appeal filed by Arup Bhuyan, an alleged member of the banned ULFA, against his conviction by a TADA court in Guwahati. On confessional statements, the bench said, “Torture is such a terrible thing that when a person is under torture he will confess to almost any crime. Even Joan of Arc confessed to be a witch under torture. Hence, where the prosecution case mainly rests on the confessional statement made to the police by the alleged accused, in the absence of corroborative material, the courts must be hesitant before they accept such extra-judicial confessional statements.” The bench further said.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 5

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