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Crime control law challenged in SC

delhi Updated: Sep 16, 2007 03:47 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
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Two accused in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts case have approached the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). They have submitted in their petitions that the state did not have the legislative competence to enact the law.

While challenging the State government's authority, the accused state the crime of "promoting insurgency" is not a State subject but falls under List 1 of the Constitution that is the Union List. They further state that the Parliament has already enacted a complete code to cover the entire field of "promoting insurgency" in the special anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities of Prevention Act (UAPA). Earlier, the petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of MCOCA before the Mumbai high court. On July 19, 2007 a division bench dismissed the petition. Certain provisions of the MCOCA have been cited by the accused to claim that they are inconsistent and incompatible with the corresponding sections of UAPA. The petitioners said it is well-settled that whenever there are two laws, the one enacted by the Union prevails over the State Law.

Following a series of blasts in seven suburban trains on July 11, 2006 the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra arrested 13 persons under various sections of IPC and UAPA. However, in November 2006 the Police Commissioner of Mumbai granted sanction to prosecute all the accused under MCOCA. The special court in Mumbai hearing the case has charged all the accused under all the sections.