There is no provision in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act that provides the rights to the victims to go for an appeal even if they are aggrieved by the trial court verdict.
Telangana High Court made this observation on Tuesday while hearing a writ petition filed by families of the victims in the Mecca Masjid blast case reported in May 2007, seeking an appeal against the trial court’s verdict which acquitted the accused. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice A. Rajasheker Reddy heard the petition seeking to strike down Section 21 (5) of NIA Act which provides short time to go for an appeal against the trial court verdict.
Last year, the trial court had acquitted the accused, who were charged with being members of a right wing outfit and carrying out a blast inside the mosque. Counsel for the petitioners Syed Mounis Jafer Abidi presented to the court that families of the victims hoped the NIA, which probed the terror attack, would file an appeal in the case.
They filed the petition for an appeal after learning that the NIA had decided not to do so. The provisions of the Act also provide only three months which was unfair, he said.
The bench suggested to the counsel that the petitioners have an option to go for an appeal under Section 372 (ii) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under that Section, they can seek an appeal over the trial court’s judgment. The bench asked Assistant Solicitor General K. Lakshman, who said the victims’ kin had no right to appeal under the NIA Act, to secure instructions on the matter. The petition was posted for hearing after four weeks.