As the government and opposition both attack the Supreme Court ruling rejecting the theory of "guilt by association" with regard to banned organisations, the apex court has on Thursday said a literal interpretation of special laws, declaring membership of banned organisation as illegal, violated constitutional provisions.
A bench of justice Markandeya Katju and justice Gyan Sudha Misra, which earlier gave two judgements on the issue, virtually said it has saved section 3 (5) of TADA or Section 10 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act by reading these down in consonance with fundamental rights, as their literal interpretation would become unconstitutional.
"Although according to the literal rule of interpretation we have to go by the plain and simple language of a provision while construing it, we may have to depart from the plain meaning if such plain meaning makes the provision unconstitutional," the court said.
The bench reiterated its earlier verdict on the issue even as the government is preparing to move SC seeking a review of its earlier two orders.
It said if there was no constitution, having fundamental rights, courts could have read the provisions literally.
"But since there is a Constitution in our country providing for democracy and Fundamental Rights, we cannot give these statutory provisions such a meaning as that would make them unconstitutional," it added.