A Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice M. R. Shah and Justice A. S. Bopanna has set aside an order of the Kerala High Court discharging an alleged Maoist from three cases involving charges under the UAPA.
The order of the Apex Court is in appeals filed by the State of Kerala against the common order passed in September last year by Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V of the Kerala High Court in Revision Petitions filed by the accused challenging dismissal of his Discharge Petitions filed in three cases, by the Sessions Court.
The High Court had discharged the accused on the ground that the sanction accorded to prosecute the accused was vitiated due non-compliance with statutory provisions.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh appeared for the Appellant State while Advocate Kamini Jaiswal appeared for the Respondent accused.
The State argued that in view of Section 21(1) of the NIA Act, the revision application against the order passed by the Special Court refusing to discharge the accused ought to have been heard by the Division Bench as mandated under sub-section (2) of Section 21 of the NIA Act and not by the Single Judge.
Reliance was placed by the State on the judgments of the Apex Court in the matters of State of Andhra Pradesh through Inspector General, National Investigation Agency vs. Mohd. Hussain alias Saleem and Bikramjit Singh vs. State of Punjab to argue that the impugned order of the Single Bench is not sustainable.
The Counsel appearing for the Respondent did not dispute the above proposition of law laid down by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid decisions.
The Court held that, "...considering Section 21 of the NIA Act, any order passed by the learned Special Court, not being an interlocutory order, is subjected to appeal before the High Court and to be heard by a Bench of two Judges of the High Court. In the present case, admittedly, the impugned judgment and order has been passed by the learned Single Judge which can be said to be absolutely contrary to the statutory provision, namely, Section 21(1) and 21(2) of the NIA Act and the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions".
The Bench quashed the impugned order and remanded the matters back to the High Court with a direction that a Division Bench of the High Court should decide the matter, preferably within a period of six months from the order.