Can smuggling of gold be categorized as a ‘terrorist activity’ under the UAPA?

Can smuggling of gold be categorized as a ‘terrorist activity’ under the UAPA?

The Supreme Court concerning Mohd. Aslam v. Union of India will determine whether gold smuggling is categorized as a ‘terrorist activity’ as per section 15(1)(iii a) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai will evaluate the plea filed by Mohammad Aslam that challenged the order passed by the Rajasthan High Court.

The Rajasthan High Court dismissed the plea filed by Mohammad Aslam to quash the First Information Report registered against him for smuggling gold. Also, Mohammad Aslam booked under section 16 of the UAPA to undertake the activity of smuggling. 

Dependence placed over 160th report on the Unlawful Activities Prevention Bill, 2011 of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, by the petitioners’ Counsel. The argument framed by the Counsel was that under section 15(1)(iii a), there was no intention on the part of the Legislature to place ‘any other materials’ as a distinct unit.

Furthermore, the counsel representing the petitioner used the Kerala High Court’s judgement dated Feb 18, 2021, as one of the arguments. It said that the offence of smuggling is covered under the Customs Act and is not a matter of a ‘terrorist act’ as per section 15 of the UAPA. For charging the petitioner under the UAPA, the evidence put forward should indicate malice intention along with an act to menace the economic safety of the country performed by him.

Lastly, the petitioner contended that he undertook the act of smuggling since he had lost his job due to Covid-19 and persuaded by a flight ticket and some consideration in the form of money to carry out the task of smuggling gold.

Mihir Popat
I am a 2nd-year student of Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University. I stand by the concept of Kobayashi Maru that is winning a non-win situation by rewriting the rules. As a first-generation lawyer, my goal is to make never-ending contributions to the legal fraternity through my knowledge of the Law gained through hard work and perseverance.