Maharashtra government tells Bombay High Court: Trial court was right to extend custody of Gadling

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday tried its best to convince the Bombay High Court about the legality of an order passed by a trial court, which had extended the custody of advocate Surendra Gadling by an additional 90 days. ‘Unimpressed’, the high court said it would pass appropriate orders on Wednesday.

A single-judge bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar was seemingly unimpressed with the submissions made by Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni defending the trial court’s order, which is under challenge. The trial court had granted an extra 90 days to Pune Police last month to file its chargesheet against Gadling, who was arrested in June for his alleged links with Naxals and for conspiring to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Gadling, through his counsel Sathyanarayan Iyer, highlighted the high-handed manner in which Pune Police had sought an extension of his custody. He pointed out the fact that the investigation officer had filed an application seeking extra 90 days for the chargesheet, which is in breach of the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

“The application should have been filed by the public prosecutor and not by the police. The application should have further spelled the progress and the exact reasons for which the prosecution has sought extension of time to file chargesheet and custody,” Iyer argued. AG Kumbhakoni vehemently opposed the submissions and argued, “Although the plea in response to which the trial court passed the orders was filed by the police, it was endorsed by the prosecutor.

The public prosecutor had applied her mind before submitting the said plea in the trial court.” “Even the trial court judge applied his mind while granting the extra time to the prosecution,” Kumbhakoni submitted. “But don’t you think the application of mind must have been done judiciously?” interrupted Justice Bhatkar. “When there is a public prosecutor, why was the investigating officer allowed to file such an application and argue before the court?” questioned Justice Bhatkar.

“I have tried my level best to appreciate the submissions made by the AG but I still cannot agree with you (AG) on several counts. Will pass an appropriate order,” Justice Bhatkar remarked, posting the matter for orders on Wednesday.

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