Elgar Parishad case: HC reserves order on plea by eight accused
The Bombay high court reserved its orders in the petition filed by the eight Elgar Parishad accused who challenged the cognizance taken by the sessions judge of the charge sheet filed by Pune Police in November 2018. The counsel for the accused argued that as the sessions judge had passed orders and not the special NIA court or a magistrate court as stipulated by the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) under which the accused were booked, the orders passed by the sessions judge were not valid and they were eligible for default bail.
The division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar, while hearing the petition of Sudhir Dhavale and the other seven accused was informed by advocate Sudeep Pasbola that the petition was challenging the orders passed by the additional sessions judge which authorized the charge sheet filed by the Pune police and all other orders related to default bail applications in November and December 2018.
The accused in their petition have submitted that the sessions judge was not the competent court to hear their applications as they had been booked under a scheduled offence and the provisions of the NIA Act which mentioned judicial procedure for offences under UAPA were to be presided over by a special NIA court only or a magistrate court. However, the sessions judge had presided over the cases and passed orders which were illegal and hence they were eligible for default bail.
Similar arguments had been canvassed by advocate Yug Choudhry in the petition filed by Sudha Bharadwaj seeking similar reliefs.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for Pune police and state however argued that the Pune police had filed the charge sheet within the stipulated period and hence the prayer for quashing of the order was not valid and the petition should be dismissed.
Additional Solicitor general Anil Singh for the NIA submitted that the NIA Act provided a hearing of trial by a special court and not before that and as the authorization of the charge sheet was a pre-trial stage procedure and hence the there was nothing averse in the sessions judge taking cognizance of the charge sheet.
However, Pasbola objected stating that neither the state nor the NIA had addressed the issue raised by the petitioners about the competence of the sessions judge to hear cases registered under scheduled offences.
After hearing the submissions the court said it had concluded the hearing and would pass orders in due course.