The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court expressed its displeasure over an order passed by the district magistrate court externing an accused from Ahmednagar district when he should have been externed from the area where the case was registered. The court also ordered an inquiry against the district magistrate in this regard. The petitioner, Ravi Bhalerao, 33, who is accused of three crimes since 2011, had approached the bench, challenging the externment order issued by the sub-divisional magistrate and also questioned the procedure followed by the magistrate.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and K K Sonawane was hearing the petition. Bhalerao’s counsel told the court that the complaints against the petitioner were registered at Newasa police station in Ahmednagar district and the externment should have been restricted to the small area of Newasa and not the entire district.
He also argued that the magistrate did not take in-camera statements of witnesses to confirm their apprehension or give evidence against the accused to prompt externment and, therefore, the externment cannot legally sustain.
However, the additional public prosecutor told the court that movement of Bhalerao was causing alarm and endangering the safety of people living in Newasa and adjoining areas.
The court upheld the contentions of the petitioner and questioned the magistrate for not taking in-camera statements of people fearing Bhalerao or sending him a showcause notice.
The court, while setting aside the externment order, said, “In spite of sufficient time granted to the respondents, the original record pertaining to the case of the petitioner in relation to the externment was not made available for perusal, we express displeasure and direct respondent No. 1 (Home department) to cause enquiry of respondents No. 2 (sub-divisional magistrate) and submit report to this court within two months from today.”