The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the state of Punjab over a petition filed by an accused held under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), challenging the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court that it was not competent to grant extension of time to the investigating agency to complete investigation.
A Bench of Justice Arun Monga issued the notice to the state of Punjab for November 23, 2020.
Tejinder Singh alias Teja was arrested on June 1, 2020, by the special team of Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) of Punjab Police for allegedly barging into a jewellery store, V K Jewellers at Ghumar Mandi of Ludhiana, and escaping with 2 kg gold during the daytime. The police later said that the accused reportedly committed the crime to mobilise funds for carrying out a spate of targeted killings as part of a pro-Khalistan agenda to disturb the state’s peace and communal harmony and spread mayhem.
At the HC, Teja through his counsel Saurav Bhatia has sought quashing of the order, dated August 31, 2020, passed by the CJM, Mohali, and order dated, September 18, 2020, passed by Judicial Magistrate First Class of Mohali, in the FIR number 9 registered on June 1, 2020, whereby the investigation agency has been granted extension of time to complete investigation. The petitioner contended that he has been denied right of default bail and termed it to be illegal, unjust and without jurisdiction.
Advocate Bhatia submitted that 90 days have lapsed after the arrest of Teja, and no chargesheet has been filed by the investigating agency. Therefore, Teja is liable to be released on bail and also the prosecution has not sought extension. The extension sought from the court of CJM on August 31, 2020, is illegal, as the designated court for such offences is the special court which is the court of sessions.
It was argued that the process has also resulted in denial of default bail to the petitioner under Section 167 (2) CrPC. The petitioner has been implicated under the provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 and only Sessions Court is competent to grant any such extension. Furthermore, even notice of the application seeking extension of investigation was not issued to the petitioner, which is in violation of the apex court’s judgment in Hitendra Vishnu Thakur vs State of Maharashtra.
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