The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to hear the bail plea filed by former Popular Front of India chief and founding president of Social Democratic Party of India Erappungal Abubacker, reported Bar and Bench.

Abubacker, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on September 22 during the countrywide crackdown on the now-banned organisation, had sought bail on medical grounds.

The National Investigation Agency has booked Abubacker under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion) of the Indian Penal Code and the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the National Investigation Agency Act.

At Thursday’s hearing, Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said that he does not have the jurisdiction to pass an order on the petition since Abubacker has been booked under the National Investigation Agency Act, reported The Indian Express.

“The NIA Act is a special act, we don’t have the power,”Mendiratta said. “I can’t pass interim orders if I don’t have jurisdiction.”

Section 21 of the Act states that all appeals be heard by a two-judge High Court bench.

The High Court allowed Abubacker’s counsel to first seek bail before the trial court and then appeal before a division bench of the High Court, reported Bar and Bench. It then dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

In his petition, the 70-year-old former PFI leader had said that he is suffering from serious medical ailments, including a rare form of cancer – gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma – and Parkinson’s disease, reported The Indian Express. This type of cancer affects the esophagus, the tube that connects mouth and stomach..

The petition also claimed that Abubacker found out the details of the offences after he received the arrest memo.

He said that the first information report and remand application have not been provided to him so far in violation of Sections 50 (person arrested to be informed of grounds of arrest and of right to bail) and 207 (supply to the accused of copy of police report and other documents) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, reported the newspaper.

Abubacker has been in judicial custody since October 6.

Ban on Popular Front of India

On September 28, the Popular Front of India, along with its associates, was banned for five years by the government under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The development came after the National Investigation Agency took more than 250 persons linked to the organisation under custody after raids on September 22 and September 27.

The Popular Front of India has been accused of being involved in terror funding, organising training camps and radicalising persons to join proscribed organisations. The Centra has claimed that some founding members of the outfit are leaders of Students Islamic Movement of India and have links with the terror group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. Both organisations are banned in India.

On October 6, the Centre had appointed Delhi High Court judge Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma as the head of an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act Tribunal that will review the five-year ban on the Popular Front of India and its affiliate organisations.

The Popular Front of India was created in 2007 through the merger of three Muslim organisations in southern India. It describes itself as an organisation that works towards “the achievement of socio-economic, cultural and political empowerment of the deprived and the downtrodden and the nation at large”.