Published On: March 02, 2022 at 19:29 IST
On March 2, 2022; the Bombay High Court sought assistance of the Attorney General KK Venugopal in a Plea filed by Anand Teltumbde, the Accused in the Bhima Koregaon Case, challenging the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
The Bench comprised Justices SB Shukre and GA Sanap. After the hearing the Plea, the Bench issued Notice to the Attorney General asking him to assist the Court.
The Writ Petition was filed through Advocate Devyani Kulkarni. It challenged the Bail provisions under UAPA. It stated that the definition of the term “Front Organization” was broad and was misused by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Senior Advocate Mihir Desai pointed out that the term “Front Organization” was not defined in the UAPA or any Rules. He said that an organization can be declared “Banned” only when the Central Government notifies it or adds it under the Schedule of UAPA.
Teltumbde contended that Schedule I of the UAPA not only included individual organizations but also their formations and front organizations.
He pointed out NIA’s submission that certain organizations which are fronts for banned ones were also banned, but he argued that this decision was taken by an individual officer of NIA and not by the Centre.
Further, the Bail provisions under Section 43D of the UAPA were challenged stating that the said Section creates hurdle for an Accused to be granted Bail. It was stated that the by virtue of this provision, Bail is denied to Accused for several years even until the end of Trial at times.
It was submitted that Bail provisions need to seen in the context of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 even for Cases under UAPA, where there is no condition for the Court to come to Prima Facie conclusion regarding the guilt or innocence of Accused while granting Bail.
Teltumbde also sought to quash the Order of the Special NIA Court which had rejected his Bail. In the Plea, a ground was raised that the object of Bail is securing the attendance of Accused at Trial but Bail shall not be withheld as punishment.
The Court listed the Case for final disposal after 4 weeks.
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