Elgar Parishad: Accused challenge special court’s jurisdiction in case
The arrested activists include Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Surendra GadlingUpdated: Jul 19, 2019 16:59 IST
The activists accused in the Elgar Parishad case have challenged the jurisdiction of the special court which has been hearing the matter for the past year.
While five of the nine accused were arrested in June, four others were arrested in August. The arrested activists include Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling.
Gadling got into a hearing argument with additional sessions judge Ravindra N Pande over the delay in the hearing of multiple other applications, including all their bail applications, while the process of cloned copies of the electronic documents are being handed over.
“(At the rate at which it is going) The process might take two-three years to complete. Are you going to keep us in jail till then?” said a loud Gadling, who is also a lawyer by profession. Gadling and Ferriera are representing themselves in the court.
While bringing the judge’s attention to the pending applications, Gadling also suggested that the cloning process should also be made a daily affair.
As per the order passed by the judge who had the charge of the court before judge Pande, all the accused, an FSL expert as well as the investigation officer should be present during the cloning process. Having started the process a month and a half ago, only three sessions have taken place so far.
However, while denying the request, judge Pande said, “It is very difficult for me to call you from jail every single day.”
“I had even made a submission in court that the process is ongoing at the laboratory to make cloned copies. With their pending work, side-by-side, they were going to initiate the process. It would have taken around 2-3 months time. However, they insisted on being present during the process and made fresh applications just when the bail arguments had concluded,” said assistant commissioner of police Shivaji Pawar, Yerawada divison of Pune police, who is investigating the case.
In a lower court, the lawyers of the accused have submitted another application to start arguments of default bail. The application challenges the power of the sessions court to conduct proceedings in the matter. “The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) does not mention the requirement of a special court like some of the other acts (MCOCA, NIA) do. The proceedings should have ideally taken place in this court,” said advocate Rohan Nahar representing the accused.
The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) S Jondhale has asked the public prosecutor and ACP Pawar to file a say in the matter.