Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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BACKGROUND

  • The case is before a full Bench of Madras High Court comprising Justices P N Prakashh, V Sivagnam, RN Manjula referred to it by Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira.
  • The case before Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira arose due to the dismissal of a bail application l for offences under Sections 447, 448, 294(b), 307, 506(II) and 120-B, IPC and Sections 15, 16 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • Before the single-judge Bench, the question was that revision appeal against the order of the Sessions Court made under Section 397 CrPC is maintainable when the offence is under UAPA or if the appeal should be made before NIA Court under Section 21 of the NIA Act, 2008.
  • Referring to Abdulla vs. State, a case decided by another single Bench of this Court, it was submitted to Justice Chandira that where cases were not investigated by the NIA, the trial will be held according to the provisions of the CrPC.

ISSUE BEFORE THE LARGER BENCH

  • Whether action against the order of the District and Sessions Judge in a matter covered under the UAPA Act will be treated as a bail application or an appeal?
  • Whether the application challenging the order should be placed before a Single Bench or two judge Bench of the High Court?

SUBMISSIONS

  • Referring to the decision of the Full Bench of the Patna High Court in Bahadur Kora, it was submitted before the Court that merely because the offence was charged under UAPA, it cannot be said that the procedure followed should be under NIA Act.
  • The counsel for the petitioner submitted that cases within the Explosive Substances Act are also offences under NIA Act and therefore in routine bomb cases also where UAPA is invoked, the final reports will have to be filed before the Sessions Court.

OBSERVATIONS

  • The Court settling the dispute held that an order passed by a Sessions Court denying bail under UAPA can be challenged only in the form of appeal under Section 21 of the NIA Act. Such appeal can only be heard by the Divisional Bench of the High Court.
  • The order of the Bench was based on the observations made by the Supreme Court in Bikramjit Singh vs State of Punjab where the Court held that all the offences under the NIA Act, which include the UAPA, should follow the procedure of the NIA Act even if such cases are investigated by State police.
  • The Court remarked that the purpose of the NIA Act will be defeated if all the cases, such as that of the country bombings, are treated as a terrorist offence and sent to Special Court or Sessions Court, therefore overburdening them.

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