Staff Reporter

Powers of Magistrate who heard bail application challenged

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have moved a special court challenging the powers of the Metropolitan Magistrate who heard the bail application of Rahul Mahajan, son of deceased Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan, in a case registered against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The police have also obtained a production warrant against Mr. Mahajan for his presence at the special court for cases dealing with the NDPS Act at Tis Hazari for hearing on Monday.

In the application, the police said despite the prosecution challenging the powers of the Magistrate to hear a bail application in an NDPS Act case that also includes Section 27 (a) of the Act, Metropolitan Magistrate A.K. Chaturvedi heard the bail application of the accused and reserved his order on that. The application also sought a stay on the order on bail application till it was decided which court would hear the case.

Earlier, Metropolitan Magistrate Chaturvedi had sent Rahul Mahajan to judicial custody till June 22.

Metropolitan Magistrate's ruling

The police have moved the application in the wake of the ruling by the Metropolitan Magistrate dismissing the prosecution's argument that though it had powers to try an NDPS Act case where the punishment prescribed was less than three years, but it did not have powers to hear a bail application in the same case.

Criticising the prosecution, Mr. Chaturvedi observed: "The jurisdiction to conduct trial automatically and inherently includes the right to grant bail, and, therefore, this argument is rejected as being devoid of any foundation and appears to be an illustration of intellectual bankruptcy."

The court also dismissed the prosecution's submission that Mr. Mahajan had committed offences of financing drug deals and harbouring the dealers, that comes under Section 27 (a) of the NDPS Act, saying that the public prosecutor was unable to distinguish between financing a series of transactions and consumption through a single transaction. Thus, the allegation did not hold against the accused.

The court had also ruled that the charges of lending premises for commission of a crime, abetment and criminal conspiracy depended upon the nature and the quantity of drugs.

The court pulled up the prosecution for taking a shifting stand on the quantity of the drugs allegedly procured, consumed and distributed by Mr. Mahajan. While obtaining his custody, the police had submitted that 5 gm of drugs was procured, but later they stated that it was 7 gm.