The custody of a person accused of a crime under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act can be extended by a court up to 180 days, provided it is satisfied with the report of the public prosecutor indicating progress in the probe and finds other specific reasons, the Madras High Court has said.
A division bench comprising justices M. Jaichandren and S. Baskaran passed the orders while dismissing a habeas corpus plea on Thursday seeking a direction to authorities to produce Rishwan Sheriff, a remand prisoner, and contending that on the expiry of 90 days, the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to deal with the matter.
“Section 43-D of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, does not exclude the jurisdiction of the magistrate from exercising the remand extension power beyond 90 days.
However, the said power can be exercised up to 180 days,” the court said.
“In fact Clause(2) of Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 states that the magistrate to whom an accused person is forwarded under the said section may whether he has or has no jurisdiction to try the case, authorize detention of the accused in custody from time to time as he thinks it fit.”
“The proviso to the said section makes it clear that the magistrate may authorize the detention of the accused person beyond the prescribed period if he is satisfied that adequate grounds exist for doing so. As such it is clear that necessary procedures had been followed by the magistrate concerned in extending the remand of the detenu in question,” the court said.
The detenu was arrested on March 16, 2016. He was remanded in judicial custody by XI Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet. The custody was extended from time to time.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the extension of remand from March 16 to July 15 was arbitrary, illegal and contrary to relevant provisions of the law.
The counsel further submitted that on the expiry of 90 days the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to deal with the matter.
Public Prosecutor Rajarathinam submitted that power of extending the remand was vested with the magistrate concerned under provisions of Section 43-D of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Sections 16 and 22 of the National Investigating Agency Act, 2008.
Accepting the contention that the magistrate had power to extend the remand beyond 90 days under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the bench said, “In the present case we are clear that there has been no breach of the procedures followed by the magistrate in extending the remand period of the detenu” and dismissed the plea filed by the detenu’s wife.
( Source – PTI )