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delhi high court

Mere smuggling of gold without connection to a threat to the economic or monetary stability of the country is not a “terrorist act” under UAPA Act: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court held that simply smuggling gold without any connection to harm to the country’s economic security or monetary stability does not constitute a “terrorist act” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (UAPA) Act,1967 through the Division Bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Mini Pushkarna in the case of Vaibhav Sampat More v. National Investigation Agency (CRL.A. 115/2022)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

Aggrieved by the impugned order denying the appellants bail in a case filed at NIA Headquarters under Sections 16, 18, and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and under Sections 120B, 204, 409, and 471, the appellants chose to file the appeals.

The brief facts are that The Delhi Zonal Unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence stopped the appellants, with the exception of appellant Vaibhav Sampat More, as they were travelling from Assam, Guwahati, to Delhi. It was claimed that 504 gold bars, totaling 83.621 kilograms, had been smuggled and found at the New Delhi Railway Station.

After the DRI finished its investigation, the National Investigation Agency registered RC for alleged criminal conspiracy, aiding terrorist activities, endangering India’s economic security and destabilizing its currency, in accordance with Section 15(1)(a)(iii)(a) of the UAP Act, which is a terrorist act punishable under Section 16 of the UAPA Act.

The Additional Solicitor General referred the Court to the Amendment Act’s declaration of purposes and justifications, which demonstrated that the term “terrorist act” was amended to include aspects of terrorist activities that disrupt national economic stability. According to the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations, the aforementioned adjustment was made. Despite the fact that the study dealt exclusively with gold, the word “gold” was not inserted when Section 15(1) (iiia) of the UAPA Act was amended.

JUDGEMENT:

Since there was no death in this case, the Bench noted that Clause “b” of Section 16 of the UAPA Act, which provided for a sentence of minimum imprisonment for a period of 5 years that may extend to life imprisonment from 5 years to life, based on the facts of the case, would not be relevant.

In light of the aforementioned considerations, the appellants were given bail. The ensuing prerequisites were established:

i. The appellants will furnish a personal bond and a surety bond in the sum of ₹1 lakh each to the satisfaction of the learned Trial Court.

ii. Appellants will surrender their passports, if in their possessions, to the learned Trial Court.

iii. Appellants will not leave the country without the prior permission of the learned Trial Court.

iv. Appellants will report to the jurisdictional Station House Officer of the Police Station where they reside on the first Monday of every month between 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM for marking their presence.

v. Appellants will submit their residential address and the mobile phones used by them and in case of change, the same will be intimated to the learned Trial Court by way of an affidavit.

vi. Mobile phones used by the appellants will be kept in active mode and the appellants will share the live locations of their mobile phones with the Investigating Officers for the next six months.

Due to the aforementioned, appeals were disposed of.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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