The Bombay High Court dismissed a petition seeking an order to set up a Review Committee for screening cases registered under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
“We cannot issue a direction to the state government to amend the law or to enact a law and provide for a Review Committee,” said the division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar while dismissing the petition filed by alleged “Pandav Putra” gang member Vijay Vashirde.
“It will be a welcome step,” observed the judges saying, “The state government will not be at a disadvantage if a provision for a review committee is made.”
The judges noted that the existing constitution of a review committee as recommended by the Supreme Court in the Shaheen Welfare Association’s case will help prevent the possible misuse of the MCOCA.
Vashirde’s counsel S.R. Chitnis said the provisions of the MCOCA were drastic and perhaps more stricter than the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. He argued there were several cases of misuse of the MCOCA and, therefore, the provision of the Review Committee, as incorporated in the Prevention of Terrorists Act (POTA), should be incorporated in the MCOCA.
The senior lawyer said the MCOCA was a draconian legislation and though its validity was upheld, its arbitrary, capricious and revengeful use must be prevented. He also submitted high court judgments in seven cases, in which the provisions of the MCOCA were wrongly applied.
Senior lawyer V. R. Dhond, who argued for the state, said the nature and extent of safeguards and protections which ought to be introduced in a statute is a matter of policy in which the court cannot interfere.