Bhima-Koregaon case: SC stays Bombay HC order denying more time to file charge sheet

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Bombay High Court order refusing the Maharashtra police a 90-day extension to complete its investigation and file chargesheet against lawyer Surendra Gadling and others, who were accused of Maoist links in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked whether the State whether it has filed the chargesheet. The Bench initially pointed out to the State that the Bombay HC has stayed its own order till November 1.

The High Court order, on October 24, had opened the window for Mr. Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, activists Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson to seek default bail.

They were arrested on June 6 by the Pune Police and a case was registered against them under the various provisions of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the Indian Penal Code.

“ The police started the investigation but could not complete the same. On September 3, 90 days were completed since the date of arrest of the respondents,” the Maharashtra government petition filed through State counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar said.

Hearing on Friday

Mr. Katneshwarkar mentioned the case before the Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

The Bench is likely to hear the case on Friday.

The petition argued that under Section 43-D (2) of the UAPA Act, the trial court may, on the report of the public prosecutor, extend the detention of the accused for another 90 days.

On September 2, the trial court had allowed an extension of 90 days, following which Mr. Gadling and the others moved the High Court, which set aside the trial court order. The High Court however stayed its order till November 1 to give the State time to appeal the Supreme Court.

The State government argued that the High Court resorted to a “pedantic view rather than resorting to a pragmatic view”. The High Court concluded that the report for the 90-day extension of detention was filed before the Sessions Judge by the case investigating officer instead of the public prosecutor as required by law.

“The public prosecutor, by way of abundant precaution, took signature of the investigating officer. But the High Court was carried away by the fact of signature of the investigating officer and arrived at a conclusion that the report/application was not by the public prosecutor,” the State government contended in the special leave petition.

The State submitted the High Court was “carried away” by a reference made by the Sessions Judge that the application for extension was “filed by investigating officer”.

“It appears that the more the State took precaution to file the report/application for extension of time to complete the investigation, the more the high court considered it as improper and thereby passed the impugned order,” the State complained to the Supreme Court.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 10:57:33 PM |

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