Supreme Court Collegium recommends Malegaon blast case accused Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit’s advocate as Bombay High Court judge

Advocate Neela Gokhale who represented 2008 Malegaon blasts case accused has been approved by the Supreme Court Collegium to be elevated as a judge of the Bombay High Court

January 11, 2023 01:10 am | Updated 09:45 pm IST - Mumbai:

Advocate Neela Gokhale has filed discharge applications for Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit before the High Court challenging the sanction to prosecute him in the terror blast case.  Photo: Neela Gokhale/LinkedIn

Advocate Neela Gokhale has filed discharge applications for Lt. Col. Prasad Purohit before the High Court challenging the sanction to prosecute him in the terror blast case.  Photo: Neela Gokhale/LinkedIn

Advocate Neela Gokhale who represented Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case that killed six and injured 101, has been approved by the Supreme Court Collegium to be elevated as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

A statement released by the collegium headed by the chief justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud reads, “The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 10 January 2023 has approved the proposal for elevation of Smt. Neela Kedar Gokhale, Advocate in the Bombay High Court.”

This approval will now be finalised by the Ministry of Law and Justice at the Center. The High Court currently has 65 judges as opposed to its sanctioned strength of 94 judges.

On January 6, 2023, commenting on the names sent by the Center to the Collegium, Justice SK Kaul of the Supreme Court said, “Government in the last lot sent back some of the names which were pending. Rightly or wrongly, we will have to deal with it. There are 22 names which have been sent back. Out of that, some of the ones are which... recommended by the collegium have been sent back. Some reiterated names have been sent back. Some third reiterations have been sent back. And some names are which the collegium did not clear but the Government in its wisdom feels ought to be considered. So collegium will have to consider the views of the government whether those names, which we did not clear earlier, are now required to be cleared or not. The total of these three categories are pending today. The other pendency in collegium is minimal now.”

Ms. Gokhale has filed discharge applications for Mr. Purohit before the High Court challenging the sanction to prosecute him in the terror blast case.

On January 2, 2023 the High Court had rejected a discharge application filed by Ms. Gokhale on behalf of Mr. Purohit on the grounds that no proper sanction was taken to prosecute him under section 197 (prosecution of Judges and public servants) Code of Criminal Procedure.

However, the court held, “The question remains to be answered that, why he did not avert the bomb blast in the civilian locality of Malegaon that caused loss of life of six innocent persons and severe to grievous injuries to about 100 persons. Even otherwise indulging into any activity of a bomb explosion causing death of six persons is not an act done by the Appellant in his official duty.”

Mr. Purohit is out on bail but has been charged with murder, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony on him, relevant sections under The Arms Act, The Indian Explosive Substance Act, and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

So far 297 witnesses have been examined in the trial and 25 of them have been declared hostile. On September 29, 2008, a bomb exploded in Malegaon, a city in the Nashik district in Maharashtra killing six and injuring over 100. The other accused are retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.