4 Sep 2023 1:49 PM GMT
The Madras High Court has held that an order of trial court allowing an application filed by the prosecution seeking extension of remand of accused is not an interlocutory order but a final order and the same is amenable to appeal under Section 21 of the National Investigation Agency Act. The court was hearing a plea filed by one Mohammed Hasan Kuthous and two others who were...
The Madras High Court has held that an order of trial court allowing an application filed by the prosecution seeking extension of remand of accused is not an interlocutory order but a final order and the same is amenable to appeal under Section 21 of the National Investigation Agency Act.
The court was hearing a plea filed by one Mohammed Hasan Kuthous and two others who were arrested by the NIA for making certain posts in the social media which allegedly promoted enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion. It was alleged that the accused persons had posted something to the effect that one religion was being subjected to wailing, helplessness and that such wailing and helplessness should be perpetrated on other religions also.
The bench of Justice M Sundar and Justice R Sakthivel rejected the prosecutor’s argument that an order acceding to prayer for extension of remand is an interlocutory order. Prosecutor argued that while an order rejecting the extension of remand is appealable, an order allowing the same is not appealable. However, the court did not accept this view and referred to the age old adage “Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander too”.
“We are unable to accept this argument on a simple and straight forward logic which reminds us of the age old adage 'Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander too'. If the logic is that extension plea refusal brings to end the proceedings in which such order was made and rights of parties are finally determined, the same would apply to an order acceding to the plea too,” the court said.
Referring to the decision of another bench of Madras High Court, the court noted that appeal which was preferred by an affected party seeking to rectify the wrong or erroneous order or decision was permissible when it turned on Article 21.
The court thus noted that when a proceeding in which the order was made concluded or terminated the proceedings and affected the rights of the parties, it could be appealed to.
“In the case on hand, extension plea being acceded to certainly concluded the extension plea proceedings and it cannot be gainsaid that it does not affect the rights of appellants (more particularly sanctus and sacrosanct right to liberty ingrained in Article 21 of Constitution). In the case on hand, the appellants cannot make a fresh default bail plea as section 173 Cr.P.C final report has since been filed,” the court said.
"Looked at from any perspective, the argument of learned Prosecutor that extension prayer order is an interlocutory order does not hold water and we have no hesitation in saying that statutory appeal under section 21 of NIA Act will lie," Court added.
Thus, the court observed that an appeal under Section 21 of the NIA Act is maintainable against an order of the trial court allowing extension of remand.
Case Title: Mohammed Hasan Kuthous v State
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 253
Click here to read/download the judgment