Malegaon blast: SC notice to Maharashtra on Purohit plea against terror charge
A petition was filed by Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit, challenging a Mumbai special court’s order charging him under the anti-terror law, paving the way for his trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.india Updated: Jan 29, 2018 23:10 IST
The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Maharashtra government on Monday on a petition filed by Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit, challenging a Mumbai special court’s order charging him under the anti-terror law, paving the way for his trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
A bench of justice RK Agrawal and justice AM Sapre sought the reply of the state government and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) within four weeks. Purohit also sought a stay on the trial in the case.
In his appeal, the army officer said there was no valid sanction at the time when the trial court took cognisance of the charge sheet. Sanction from a competent authority is a requirement under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (Recommendation and Sanction of Prosecution) Rules, 2008, before the trial court can proceed with framing charges against the accused.
The trial court had, on December 27, dropped charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 12 accused, including Pragya Singh Thakur and Purohit. However, charges were framed under UAPA against Thakur, Purohit and five other accused. They will also face trial for murder and criminal conspiracy.
Purohit’s advocate Neera Gokhale said that the NIA had admitted before the court that there was no reviewing authority appointed on the day and date on which the special court took cognisance. She pointed to the error in the order and said it was a settled law that the court cannot ignore the safeguard.