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UAPA : Can Magistrate Extend Time To File Chargesheet Under Section 43D?Supreme Court To Examine

Radhika Roy
8 July 2021 7:06 AM GMT
UAPA : Can Magistrate Extend Time To File Chargesheet Under Section 43D?Supreme Court To Examine
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The Supreme Court is examining the issue whether a Magistrate is competent to grant extension of time for filing chargesheet as per section 43 D of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.The issue before the bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose is whether such extension of time under Section 43D can only be allowed by a "special court" under the...

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The Supreme Court is examining the issue whether a Magistrate is competent to grant extension of time for filing chargesheet as per section 43 D of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The issue before the bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose is whether such extension of time under Section 43D can only be allowed by a "special court" under the UAPA.

 The Petitioner had contended that the term "Court" had to be interpreted in the light of its definition under Section 2(1)(d) of the UAPA, and therefore, the Chief Judicial Magistrate was not competent to grant extension of time under Section 43D of UAPA.

This prompted the Court to consider whether extension of time regarding detention of the accused under Section 43D could be granted only by the Sessions Court or Special Court, or whether the Chief Judicial Magistrate hearing the remand application also had the power to do so.

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

Justice Lalit, the presiding judge,raised two pertinent queries :

1. Whether extension granted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate is allowed? Can the "Court" be the Magistrate's Court which has issued the remand or does it have to be the Special Court?

2. Reliance has been placed on the judgement of Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab to state that the Magistrate has no power. It will naturally boil down to a sitautiion, the man needs to be produced before the court and not the magistrate. This means the special court will be burdened by all these mundane activities of remand. Is that the intention of the Act?

In response to the questions, the ASG submitted that the answer could be found under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which had been modified by Section 43D. Further, he submitted that the modification did not touch upon the committing Magistrate competent to try the case. Justice Lalit agreed that Section 43D has not affected the role of committing magistrate.

"Judgements 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 Bench, at this juncture, noted that the submission ran counter to the Bikramjit Singh judgement. The ASG replied that some aspects of Bikramjit Singh judgment might need reconsideration.

"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 detailed hearing on next Thursday, July 15.

(Case : SLP(Crl) No. 7767/2018 - Sadique and others vs State of Madhya Pradesh)




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