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2008 Indian Mujahideen Case: 14 Yrs On, Bombay High Court Orders Re-Adjudication Of Accused' Plea To Drop MCOCA Charges

Sharmeen Hakim
5 May 2022 5:02 AM GMT
2008 Indian Mujahideen Case: 14 Yrs On, Bombay High Court Orders Re-Adjudication Of Accused Plea To Drop MCOCA Charges
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The Bombay High Court has directed the Special Court to re-adjudicate the plea of an accused seeking to drop charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 23 men arrested over 13-14 years ago in the Indian Mujahideen Case. The case pertains to emails being sent out to various news media houses before a series of blasts took place in Delhi,...

The Bombay High Court has directed the Special Court to re-adjudicate the plea of an accused seeking to drop charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 23 men arrested over 13-14 years ago in the Indian Mujahideen Case.

The case pertains to emails being sent out to various news media houses before a series of blasts took place in Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad in 2008.

A division bench led by Justices SS Jadhav and Milind Jadhav observed that an application seeking to drop certain charges was pending before the trial court when charges were framed in 2013 and the court couldn't have framed charges before disposing of the application.

"Since the application was admittedly pending and remained unheard, as specifically noted by the Trial court in the impugned order, we are of the opinion that Appellant's valuable right is jeopardized," the bench said.

The accused contended that the order of framing of charges on December 10, 2013 does not show that the accused were heard on the point of charge before it was framed, and "thus the same is in violation of the provisions of Section 227 and 228 of the Cr.P.C."

The court took exception to the trial judge disposing of the accused's plea as "does not survive," after the charges were framed.

The court then granted the accused liberty to file a fresh application for quashing of the charges under the MCOC Act before the Trial court within a period of four weeks. The court directed the prosecution to file a reply within 4 weeks and the trial court to decide the application within a period of sixteen weeks after hearing the accused.

Case

Mubin Kadar Shaikh, along with 22 accused was arrested between 2008-09 and has been charged with criminal conspiracy and waging war against the government under the IPC as well as offences under the Arms Act, Explosives Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

The prosecution alleged that before the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 16, 2008, TV channels and newspapers had received emails, allegedly from IM, warning that a series of explosions will take place.

So far, nine accused are out on bail while a couple of others have been sentenced in the Gujarat Blast.

Facts

Shaikh approached the High Court assailing the order of the Special MCOCA court refusing to drop Sections 3(1)(ii), 3(2) and 3(4) of the MCOC Act, 1999 in Sessions Case No. 4 of 2015 on the ground that there was no prima facie material to frame charges against the applicants under the said provisions.

Advocate Mubin Solkar assisted by advocate Tahera Shaikh submitted that MCOCA had been wrongly invoked against their clients as basic ingredients for invoking MCOCA were totally lacking.

Solkar contended an application for quashing MCOCA was wrongly disposed of without being heard on merits and charges were framed in violation of provisions of CrPC.

Special Public Prosecutor AM Chimalkar submitted that the accused had consented for framing of charges, therefore now they cannot contend incorrect framing of charge.

However, the bench observed that when a valuable right is accrued upon the accused under the provisions of Section 216 of the Cr.P.C. wherein the Court is empowered to add or alter a charge at any time before the judgment is pronounced and even after the charges have been framed, the court couldn't have disposed of Shaikh's plea saying it didn't survive.

Case Title: Mubeen Kadar Shaikh Versus State of Maharashtra, and connected matters

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 174

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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