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Drunken driving: Can’t stop Nooria from travelling outside city,says HC

The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that the state government’s decision to restrain Nooria Haveliwala — accused in a hit-and-run case in which two persons died — from travelling outside Mumbai was “over-reaching” a court order granting her bail.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that the state government’s decision to restrain Nooria Haveliwala — accused in a hit-and-run case in which two persons died — from travelling outside Mumbai was “over-reaching” a court order granting her bail.

On October 13,the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) had issued a restricting order against Haveliwala,a US-national,on the apprehension that she may leave the city to evade her trial in the special NDPS court.

The Division Bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R G Ketkar observed that Haveliwala had been granted bail by a special court in April,2010,and if she had to she could have gone underground while out on bail. Haveliwala’s lawyer Ashwin Thool told the court she had not breached any of the conditions laid down by the court at the time of granting bail.

“You (FRRO) are putting it on moral grounds. It is a co-incidence that one of the persons who died was a police officer. This can happen with anyone,anywhere. Are cases of drunken driving pre-planned?,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

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The FRRO’s order issued to Haveliwala had stated that the charges framed against her “are of such nature as are never committed by a law-abiding Indian citizen”. The order further stated that the character of the offence allegedly committed by Haveliwala “affects the moral fibre of the adult society” and poses a threat to life and movements of innocent people.

“As if drunken driving is not committed by Indian citizens?” the court retorted. Justice Khanwilkar pointed out that such instances are often reported in newspapers.

On January 30,2010,Haveliwala,allegedly driving her Honda CRV under the influence of alcohol and drugs,mowed down biker Afzal Ibrahim and sub-inspector Dinanath Shinde,who was on duty examining drivers at Marine Drive.

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“This (restraining order) is not a solution. If you (FRRO) have such an apprehension,get the bail cancelled,” the court said. “There is not the way of doing it. Do it properly. At least respect the court’s order,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

Additional Public Prosecutor A S Gadkari told the court that the state government would consider challenging the bail order. The case has been adjourned till December 8.

First published on: 02-12-2011 at 01:35:34 am
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