New Delhi: Ruling in favour of liberty of residents arrested beneath the draconian Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organized Crime Act, 2015 (GUJTOC), the Supreme Court on Monday launched a person charged beneath it stating that the precondition for invoking the regulation would require an individual to be charge-sheeted in multiple case relating to actions of crime syndicate.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Hima Kohli mentioned, “We are of the prime facie view that for invoking provisions of GUJTOC Act, preconditions have to be fulfilled. In the present case, only one charge sheet is filed in respect of an activity said to have been undertaken on behalf of a syndicate.”
The Court was listening to a petition filed by one Mohammad Iliyas Mohammad Bilal Kapadiya, an actual property businessman from Gujarat who had 5 different FIRs pending in opposition to him. The sixth FIR was registered in opposition to him on January 28, 2021 beneath GUJTOC Act provisions the place he was accused of committing an offence of organized crime, the utmost punishment for which was life imprisonment.
The Court famous that within the 5 FIRs, he was out on bail and in just one case, there was a cost sheet filed relating to actions completed as a part of a crime syndicate. Ordering his launch on bail, the bench mentioned, “Since he is directed to be released on bail for the FIRs mentioned under S. Nos 1 to 5, we are inclined to release him on bail on such terms and conditions as found appropriate by the trial court.”
The Court moreover directed him to report to the investigating officer of the case each week and to restrain from influencing witnesses or tamper with proof of the case.
He was arrested within the GUJTOC offence by the Gujarat Police on February 1 final year and had been in jail since then. He approached the highest court docket for bail after his common bail plea was dismissed by the Gujarat excessive court docket on January 5 this year. Earlier, even the trial court docket refused to launch him on bail owing to the draconian provisions of GUJTOC Act and the objection taken by the state that his position as a part of the crime syndicate was amply evident in all earlier FIRs.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for the accused together with advocate Diksha Rai instructed the Court that to set up organized crime beneath GUJTOC, which is analogous to the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), the dual necessities should be met to invoke the offence of organized crime.
“It should be undertaken either singly or jointly as a member of a crime syndicate and second, it should be in respect of such activity, in relation to activities of syndicate where more than one charge sheet is filed,” Rohatgi mentioned.
He additional identified that this Act has been wrongly slapped on the accused to deprive him of his liberty. Moreover, Rohatgi mentioned that there was no position attributable to the petitioner as a part of the syndicate within the FIR.
The state showing by advocate Deepanwita Priyanka instructed the Court that every one FIRs in opposition to the accused petitioner are instantly or not directly dedicated as a part of the syndicate and every FIR needn’t title all members of the syndicate to set up the hyperlink.
The Court went by the record of FIRs in opposition to the accused and located that two FIRs of 2014 and one FIR of 2015 had been lodged beneath Arms Act the place no member of crime syndicate was arrayed as an accused. The fourth FIR was of 2020 that associated to title dispute over a landed property which too didn’t have any member of crime syndicate as accused.
It was solely in 2021, a FIR was registered in opposition to seven individuals together with the petitioner the place the fees had been beneath extortion (IPC Section 387) and prison intimidation (IPC Section 506) together with prison conspiracy (IPC Section 120B) the place two members of a crime syndicate had been joined as accused. In the sixth FIR beneath GUJTOC Act, the police charge-sheeted 10 individuals of which petitioner was named as one of many accused, on the power of his position within the extortion case. The state on its half additionally failed to present every other FIR the place the exercise may very well be mentioned to completed by the petitioner as a part of a syndicate.
The bench mentioned, “The perusal of the chart (of FIRs) would reveal that in only one offence (FIR 64 of 2021) there are seven accused of which two members are part of a syndicate. In the remaining four FIRs, no member of syndicate is an accused.”
Kapadiya In his petition had mentioned, “This situation is created only with a view to cause double jeopardy to petitioner herein and violate his statutory as well as fundamental rights which smacks of malafide.”
In July 2021, the Surat Sessions Judge rejected grant of standard bail that was not interfered with by the excessive court docket. Kapadiya had approached the highest court docket in February this year.