MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nijamoodin Jamadar continued hearing submissions on the petitions filed by rights' activists Sudha Bharadwaj and others challenging the cognizance taken by the Sessions Court in Pune, of the proceedings pertaining to their remand, bail and even chargesheet. The HC would continue hearing the arguments on Tuesday.
Advocate So Pasbola appeared for the arrested activists and argued that the cognizance of the chargesheet taken by a sessions judge was illegal.
"On June 7, 2018 when the accused were first produced before the Sessions Judge, Pune, they had raised an objection on the jurisdiction. Several interlocutory applications filed by the accused were heard by the Sessions judge," Pasbola said, adding, "Their default bail applications were also heard by the Sessions Judges."
Accordingly, Pasbola said, the orders passed by the sessions judge cannot be sustained as these courts weren't special courts as envisaged under the National Investigations Agency (NIA) law.
"Here the state government has already constituted a special court. At the relevant time, there were two courts functioning in Pune. If they wanted to file chargesheet, it could not have been filed under any court except the special courts," the advocate argued.
"Had there been a case wherein there weren't any special NIA court, the prosecution could have approached a Magistrate Court in view of the definition of courts under the UAPA," he added.
Further, to buttress his case, Pasbola referred to the recent verdict of the HC at Nagpur seat, wherein it is held that all offences under the UAPA will have to be dealt with by special courts under the NIA law, irrespective of whether these are probed by the state or the central agencies.
"Thus, if the court has no jurisdiction then the orders passed in any proceedings are in nullity," he argued.
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