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Supreme Court to examine whether Magistrate can Extend Time to file Chargesheet under Section 43D of UAPA

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Supreme court Law Insider IN

Supreme court Law Insider IN

Shivangi Prakash-

The Supreme Court is considering whether a Magistrate has the authority to grant a chargesheet extension under section 43 D of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The question before the bench of Justices UU Lalit, Ajay Rastogi, and Aniruddha Bose is whether a “special court” under the UAPA can grant such a time extension under Section 43D.

The Petitioner argued that the word “Court” had to be understood in light of its definition under Section 2(1)(d) of the UAPA and that the Chief Judicial Magistrate thus lacked the authority to issue a time extension under Section 43D of the UAPA.

This prompted the Court to assess whether an extension of time for the accused’s detention under Section 43D could only be granted by the Sessions Court or Special Court, or if the Chief Judicial Magistrate considering the remand application also had that authority.

Accordingly, the Court sought the assistance of Additional Solicitor General SV Raju to aid them.

The presiding judge, Justice Lalit, posed two key questions:

1. Is it permissible for the Chief Judicial Magistrate to grant an extension? Is the “Court” need to be the Special Court or can it be the Magistrate’s Court that issued the remand?

2. The decision in Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab has been cited to support the claim that the Magistrate has no authority. It will inevitably come down to this: the man must be brought before the court, not the magistrate. This means that all of the remand activities will be burdensome to the special court. Is that what the Act is aiming for?

The ASG responded to the inquiries by claiming that the answer might be found in Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as modified by Section 43D.

He further claimed that the change had nothing to do with the committed Magistrate’s ability to try the case.  Justice Lalit agreed that Section 43D has had no effect on the duties of the committing magistrate.

“Judgments have held that even Special Court Judges are Magistrates. The word “Court” means court as defined under CrPC. Magistrate is a court as per CrPC”, stated the ASG.

The ASG said that some portions of the Bikramjit Singh decision may need to be reconsidered.

“Then this matter stands on a different footing. Then a larger Bench will have to hear this because Bikramjit Singh was heard by a 3-Judge Bench“, Justice Lalit observed.

The bench has posted the matter for a detailed hearing on next Thursday, July 15.

Also Read: Supreme Court: Interim Bail granted to 13 Prisoners, Languishing in Jail for 14-22 years even after Proving to be Juvenile