HC to decide on jurisdiction before hearing Sadhvi Pragya's bail plea

Mumbai:The Bombay High Court said that it would first decide on its jurisdiction to hear the bail petition of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who is an accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case, before ruling on her bail plea.

Justice Abhay Thipsay asked public prosecutor Rohini Salian to submit arguments on whether a single judge or a division bench of two judges had the jurisdiction to hear such matters in view of a recent Supreme Court judgement in similar cases.

Adjourning the matter to 14 August, the judge said that he would first hear the arguments of prosecutor Salian and then Sadhvi's lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani about the jurisdiction issue.

In a criminal case, the Bombay High Court had granted bail to an accused facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The state had challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which turned down the high court order saying that such matters should only be heard by a division bench and not merely by single judge, Salian said.

Screengrab of Sadhvi Pragya.

Screengrab of Sadhvi Pragya.

A similar view had been taken by the Supreme Court in another case of Andhra Pradesh and therefore, the issue arose before the Bombay High Court whether a single judge or a division bench should hear the Sadhvi's bail plea.

Earlier, the Court had reserved order on the Sadhvi's bail petition after hearing arguments of both sides. However, since the issue of jurisdiction came to the fore after the Supreme Court judgement, the High Court said it would first decide on this aspect.

Sadhvi is one of the prime accused in the Malegaon blasts case of 29 September, 2008, in which six persons were killed and 100 others injured.

On 19 January, 2009, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad had filed a chargesheet naming Indian Army Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit as the main conspirator for providing explosives to Hindu radicals and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for recruiting those who allegedly planted the explosives.

Sadhvi pleaded for bail claiming that she had been wrongly implicated in the case and there was no material evidence against her.

The prosecution has opposed her bail plea saying that she was a prime conspirator in the case and that if she was let out, she could hamper the probe, impede trial or tamper with evidence.


Updated Date: Aug 12, 2013 19:10 PM

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