India

SC asks Bombay HC to decide Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Purohit’s plea expeditiously

The 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit leaves the special NIA court. File.

The 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit leaves the special NIA court. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Bombay High Court to decide expeditiously a plea by Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, challenging the Centre's sanction to prosecute him.

A Bench led by Justice Hemant Gupta requested the High Court to decide Mr. Purohit's plea against the government's sanction under Section 197(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Mr. Purohit is a serving officer in the Indian Army.

Section 197(2) mandates that "no court shall take cognisance of any offence alleged to have been committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Union while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government".

Disposing of his appeal without intervening on its merits, the apex court recorded in its order that the "writ petition filed by the petitioner (Purohit) is pending consideration before the High Court wherein the petitioner has sought quashing of the sanction under Section 197(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973".

The Bench gleaned from Mr. Purohit’s lawyer that 246 witnesses had already been examined in the case.

Mr. Purohit had earlier argued in the High Court that as an Army officer he was only discharging his official duty by gathering intelligence.

“Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it appropriate to request the High Court to take up the writ petition and decide the same expeditiously in accordance with law,” Justice Hemant Gupta’s Bench recorded.

Mr. Purohit 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 the maintenance of harmony, under relevant Sections of the Arms Act, the Indian Explosive Substances Act, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured after an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque at Malegaon in north Maharashtra on September 29, 2008.

All the seven accused in the case are currently out on bail.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 8:06:27 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-asks-bombay-hc-to-decide-malegaon-blast-accused-lt-col-purohits-plea-expeditiously/article65711505.ece