August 22, 2016 1:32:38 am
NEARLY EIGHT YEARS after their arrest, thirteen men currently lodged at Taloja prison in connection with the Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad blasts in 2008, have written to the Bombay High Court and sought expedition of a plea to decide the court which would conduct their trial.
The thirteen are among the 23 arrested for sending emails to media houses through unsecured wi-fi networks before the blasts in 2008, allegedly carried out by the Indian Mujahideen.
On December 24, 2012, special MCOCA judge AL Pansare had ruled that the case was not triable before him and would be triable before a sessions court, citing certain sections under the NIA Act. The state government had appealed against this order before the Bombay HC in January, 2015, and it is still pending.
Pending hearing, the court has stayed the trial and left no remedy for the accused to seek interim relief, they said.
“It is an absolute miscarriage of justice that after almost eight years of an accused undertrial’s detention behind bars, the judiciary is yet to decide the court in which they are to be tried… The Hon’ble Chief Justice is hereby apprised as to how a socially isolated prisoner, incarcerated for eight years, without even start of his trial, is crushed between the lethargic wheels of ‘law procedure’,” said the application.
The state’s appeal is currently pending before the division bench of Justices PV Hardas and Dr Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi. According to the application, despite the Supreme Court asking for expedition of the trial in its 2013 order, the appeal has been pending since January 2015.
“This is almost eight years of accused applicants behind bars with no relief whatsoever and the trial has not yet started… It is almost two years now that the criminal appeal has still not been disposed and the trial is stayed without any kind of interim relief to the languishing undertrial accused prisoners behind bars,” said the application.
Currently, the trial is assigned before Judge Shayana Patil in the Mumbai sessions court but since the appeal is pending before the HC, the accused have not been able to seek hearings on their bail pleas. The thirteen are Asif Bashir Shaikh, Mubeen Kadar Shaikh, Mohammed Mansoor Peerbhoy, Ahmed Bava Abu Bakr, Dr Anwar A Bagwan, Mohammed Zakir Shaikh, Ansar Badshah Shaikh, Mohammed Naushad Sayyad, Afzal Usmani, Mohammed Arif Shaikh, Mubeen Abdul S Khan, Fazal Rehman Durrani and Ameen Ayyub Shaikh.
Six others have been granted bail in the case and four are currently undergoing trial in a separate case in Hyderabad.
After the Mumbai police arrested the men in 2008, the court framed charges against the accused under various sections including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in 2013. The plea of the men seeks intervention of the Chief Justice in deciding on the criminal appeal and conducting the hearing within two weeks to expedite the case as per SC directions.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.