Islamic Research Foundation opposes centre’s ban, saying it promotes ‘socio-economic development’

Zakir Naik (file image) | Photo credit: ANI

Highlights

  • In court, SG Tushar Mehta said Zakir Naik vakalatnama can only be accepted if his signature is verified by the Indian Embassy in Malaysia
  • Several agencies, including the NIA and ED, probed the IRF and its leader Zakir Naik. In May 2019, the ED filed a complaint against Naik
  • Three times, Interpol rejected Indian agencies’ attempt to obtain a Red Corner Notice against Zakir Naik. Its Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu channels are banned in many countries, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.

New Delhi: Opposing the Centre’s extension of the extensive ban under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Islamic Research Foundation, in its preliminary response to the court, said it “promotes charitable, educational, moral and socio-economic development“.

The IRF also claimed that it promotes charitable, educational, moral and socio-economic development, in addition to establishing schools, orphanages, research and educational institutions, hospitals, etc. and to award scholarships and educational support to deserving students.

The UAPA court, headed by Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, DN Patel, has asked the IRF to file a detailed response by February 10, when the next hearing is to take place. The IRF was first banned in 2016 for five years, the Center extended the ban again in November 2021. IRF leader Zakir Naik is believed to be in hiding in Malaysia.

The IRF, in its preliminary response, said the registration of the cases against Naik cannot be the basis for banning the Foundation under the law. “The same is wholly unwarranted and unwarranted in addition to being illegal. A reading of the notice in its entirety does not disclose any act or activity which might attract any provision of law or any provision or section 153 A or 153 B of 153 B of the Indian Penal Code,” the IRF said in its preliminary response.

Since 2016, the NIA and ED have been investigating RFID. Despite the efforts of Indian agencies, Interpol has three times rejected issuing a red corner notice against Naik. In court Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Naik’s current vakalatnama should not be accepted because he is a fugitive.

He has now been asked to submit his vakalatnama through an Indian embassy in Malaysia only after his signatures have been verified. The court noted after objections were raised by SG Mehta that this was not in line with Supreme Court guidelines and related judgments.

Naik runs Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu, which are banned in India and other countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the UK.

In its response, the IRF said the foundation did not make any inflammatory speeches. “The foundation has neither caused nor caused to be delivered any lectures or speeches nor has it endorsed any such lectures or speeches which may be characterized as inflammatory or which may be said to have been delivered deliberately and with malicious intent. ” said the IRF.

The IRF went ahead and said that none of its activities could qualify as punishable under the IPC or UAPA section and said that it provided relief during natural calamities.

“The Foundation aims to provide relief from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, riots, etc. individually as well as jointly with other organizations for humanitarian advancement,” the IRF said.

In addition to the NIA, the ED conducted its own money laundering investigation against the IRF and Naik. In May 2019, the ED filed a prosecution complaint against Naik. The court also ordered the Indian Union to file its witness list and examination-in-chief and released the case for February 10.