The Centre is in the process of banning Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamic organisation which has been banned in several states, the Supreme Court was told on Wednesday. A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, that Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan has association with PFI, whose office bearers were found to be associated with banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The bench asked Mehta whether PFI has been banned.

Mehta replied, In several states PFI has been banned. As per my information Centre is also in the process of banning it.

The bench then said, So, as of now it is not banned.

Mehta, while reading from an affidavit filed in December last year, said, No. Many officer bearers of PFI were found to be associated with SIMI.

The top court later directed the UP government to shift Kappan, suffering from various ailments and arrested last year on way to Hathras where a young Dalit woman had died after being gang raped, to a hospital in Delhi for better medical treatment.

Keeping in mind the basic human rights of an accused, the bench granted the relief and directed the state to provide medical treatment to the scribe.

It said that Kappan will be transferred back to Mathura jail after his recovery.

The top court, however, granted him liberty to approach an appropriate forum challenging his arrest or for any other relief and disposed of the plea filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and his wife, seeking his release from alleged illegal detention.

The FIR has been filed under various provisions of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against four people having alleged links with the PFI.

The police had said it arrested four people having links with the PFI in Mathura — Siddique from Malappuram, Atiq-ur Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed from Bahraich and Alam from Rampur.

Kappan was arrested on way to Hathras, which has been in the news following the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped on September 14, 2020, in a village in the district.