Terror accused can be booked under both MCOCA and UAPA

Bombay High Court: Setting aside the order of a special court, a bench comprising of PV Hardas and SP Joshi, JJ has held that an accused can be booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999 as well as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967 in a case of terrorism. In the present case the appellant-government was challenging the order which had discharged the accused in a bomb blast case from the MCOCA,  and  then transferred his case to the regular court to be tried under the UAPA, Explosives Act and the IPC. The Counsel from the appellant claimed that the conclusion of the special judge that a banned terrorist organisation cannot be said to be an organized crime syndicate and that the provisions of MCOCA could not be attracted to the act committed in the present case as they were acts of terrorism, were erroneous.

 The Court set aside the special court’s order and observed that the MCOCA deals with the organised crime syndicate committing several illegal activities with the objective of promoting insurgency and other objectives, while the UAPA deals with punishing the act of insurgency per se. Since these two enactments operate in respect of different and distinct offences, therefore a prosecution in respect of offences under both the enactments would certainly be maintainable. The Court further clarified that there may be some overlapping, but that by itself would be wholly insufficient to hold that prosecution under one Act would exclude the operation of the other Act. State of Maharashtra vs. Firoz, 2015 SCC OnLine Bom 3132decided on 28.04.2015

 

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