In a setback to the Mulund blast accused, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed their petition seeking review of their case as provided under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) Repeal Act.
Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice UD Salvi dismissed the petitions filed by Saquib Nachan, Aatif Mulla and Nasir Mulla, who had sought that their case needs to be reviewed by a special committee under the Pota Repeal Act.
On March 3, 2003, a bomb exploded in the ladies compartment of a Karjat-bound train near Mulund station. Later, the prosecution clubbed with this case the blasts at Mumbai Central on December 6, 2002, and explosion at Vile Parle station on January 27, 2003.
Their case was once reviewed by the Central Pota Review Committee as envisaged under Section 60 of the Pota. The committee had ruled that the stringent Act was rightly invoked in the case.
However, in 2006, the Central government repealed the Act after there were allegations of misuse of the Act.
In the Pota Repeal Act, too, there is provision for review of all the cases by a special review committee. However, the Repeal Act said the cases have to be reviewed within a year of its enactment.
Some of the accused in the Mulund blast case then sent an application to the Central government seeking to review their case again.
As there was no reply from the Centre, they filed a petition in the high court.
Their counsel Mubin Solkar argued that the Repeal Act states that “all cases should be reviewed”.
“When the Parliament passed the Repeal Act, it was well aware that the Pota had provision for a review committee. Despite that, the Repeal Act specifically said that ‘all cases’ must be reviewed,” said Solkar.
“Accordingly, our case too should be reviewed by a special committee again on whether prima facie case was made out against the accused,” added Solkar.