Can A Blind Lead The Blind? HC Directs TN Judicial Academy To Provide Course On UAPA To Judicial Officers
The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy to conduct a course for judicial officers by focusing on the special enactments like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, SC/ST Act, etc.
The bench of Justice P.N. Prakash and Justice N. Anand Venkatesh gave this direction after observing that in the instant case the magistrate’s Order allowing extension of the remand period of a UAPA accused and dismissing the statutory bail petition filed under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C., was completely contrary to the settled position of law.
The Court noted that where a statutory bail petition is filed immediately on the expiry of 90 days, an indefeasible right accrues in favour of the accused for being released on bail, on account of default by the investigating agency and the accused is entitled to be released on bail, if he is prepared to furnish bail as directed by the Court.
The Court further observed that this indefeasible right cannot be defeated/frustrated by the prosecution, by filing a petition seeking extension of the remand period from 90 days to 180 days.
While dealing with the issue the Court quoted a popular parable from the Bible.
“…we are reminded of the famous parable of Lord Jesus, where he told his disciples thus: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not fall into a pit?”, the Court said.
The Court was dealing with the bail plea of a man accused of joining Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and propagating its ideologies and policies in the social media.
Advocate J.Ravikumar appeared for the appellant accused and R.Muniyapparaj Additional Public Prosecutor appeared for State.
In this case, as the prosecution had not completed the investigation within the prescribed period, the appellant-accused filed a bail plea.
This plea was returned on the ground that the appellant should have to approach the Sessions Court. When the appellant approached the Sessions Court, his default bail petition was forwarded to the Magistrate, with a further direction not to send any papers to the Sessions Court, till committal.
The Court noted that the Magistrate dismissed the petition filed by the appellant for default bail on the short ground that he has allowed the petition of the prosecution and has granted extension of period of remand to 180 days.
The Court observed that the magistrate had extended the remand of the accused without having the jurisdiction to do so. The Court noted that even the trained Judicial officers were ignorant as to the procedure to be adopted in a case involving offences under the UAP Act.
Thus the Court set aside the Magistrate’s Order extending the remand of the accused.
The Court granted bail to the accused.
Before parting with the Case, the Court deemed it appropriate to direct the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy to conduct a refresher course to the judicial officers, by focusing on the special enactments like UAP Act, POCSO Act, SC/ST Act, NDPS Act, etc.
Cause Title- Mir Anas Ali v. State