Can special magistrates handle traffic offences? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Can special magistrates handle traffic offences?

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2010 00:42 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari

The Bombay High Court is likely to decide on Monday whether courts of Special Metropolitan Magistrates, primarily set up for handling “hawkers cases,” can try cases involving traffic violations, including drink driving.

The question arose in a petition filed by Wadala resident Nikhil Kishnani (24), who has challenged his prosecution for drink driving. His petition is scheduled to come up for further hearing before single judge bench of Justice B.R. Gavai on Monday when the issue of jurisdiction is likely to be settled.

The directive came following a contention raised by senior lawyer Shirish Gupte, who argued for Kishnani, that the special magistrates were not even law graduates.

Notifications issued by the high court for appointment of Special Metropolitan Magistrates (SMMs), and orders issued by Chief Metropolitan Magistrates on the basis of those notifications are also submitted in the matter.

Although, the notifications specifically mention “not traffic police,” after 1994, cases involving traffic violations are transferred to the courts of the SMMs on the basis of a clause in the same notifications. The clause empowers SMMs to handle cases attracting a maximum punishment of six months imprisonment.