What procedure is followed on pleas seeking ban on outfits?

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought to know from the Union government what procedure is followed before deciding a representation seeking ban on an outfit for alleged unlawful activities.

A division bench of Justices R V More and S P Tavade was hearing a petition filed by one Arshad Ali Ansari, seeking a direction to the Maharashtra government and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to ban activities of the right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha.

Ansari in his petition claimed he filed a representation before the state and the central government in September 2018, seeking that ban be imposed on the group under section 3 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

However, till date there has not been any response.

On Wednesday, the state government informed the bench that the competent authority to decide was the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Union government, however, told the court that the state government will have to first send a report on its findings on the outfit, after which the MHA will look into the issue.

“What is the procedure that is normally followed? Show us that procedure,” the court said and posted the petition for further hearing on March 4.

As per Ansari’s plea, filed by advocate Rajesh Khobragade, the Sanatan Sanstha’s name cropped up in some bmob blast cases in Maharashtra and in the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare.

“Members of the Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested for allegedly planting bombs in auditoriums at Thane and Vashi,” the plea said.

The petition has sought a direction to the state and the Centre to decide Ansari’s representation at the earliest and ban the Sanatan Sanstha.

Telephone tapping allowed only in case of public emergency: HC

 Telephone tapping is permissible only in situations of public emergency or in the interest of public safety, the Bombay High Court held on Tuesday and quashed orders passed by the Union Home Ministry allowing agencies to intercept phone calls of a businessman booked by the CBI in a bribery case.

A division bench of Justices R V More and N J Jamadar was hearing a petition filed by the businessman, Vinit Kumar, challenging the three orders, passed between October 2009 and February 2010, that allowed tapping of his phone calls.

Kumar’s counsels Vikram Nankani and Sujay Kantawala had argued that the interception orders were in the violation of the provisions of the Telegraph Act and the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

The CBI had registered a case in 2011, accusing Kumar of paying a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to a public servant (a bank official) to secure credit-related favour.

“We are of the view that as per the section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act, an order for interception can be issued on either the occurrence of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety.

“When either of the two conditions are not in existence, it was impermissible to take resort to telephone tapping,” the bench said.

“We are satisfied that in peculiar fact of the instant case, the impugned three interception orders neither have sanction of law nor issued for legitimate aim, as sought to be suggested,” the judges noted.

The bench further held that since the interception orders were issued in contravention to the provisions of law, the concerned intercepted messages will have to be destroyed.

The bench, however, added that it was not making any remarks on the merits of the case against the petitioner.

No corruption case made out against traffic police: ACB to HC

The Maharashtra ACB today informed the Bombay High Court that no offence of corruption was made out against the traffic police department as alleged by a head constable.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s Additional Director General submitted a report before a division bench of Justices R V More and Revati Mohite Dere and said the allegations levelled by head constable Sunil Toke against the traffic police department were probed and were found to be baseless.

The high court had in January this year directed the ACB to carry out an inquiry into the corruption charges levelled against the traffic police department by Toke.

Additional Public Prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik today told the court that Toke’s statement was recorded by the ACB, which also examined the CDs submitted by the head constable in support of his allegations.

“The statements of 29 witnesses were also recorded.The ACB, after inquiry, has come to the conclusion that no offence is made out against any traffic police personnel as alleged by the petitioner,” Yagnik said.

He said that the CDs submitted by Toke were inaudible.

Yagnik claimed that some videos in the CDs were downloaded from Youtube which were of Ahmedabad police and not Maharashtra police.

Toke’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur, however, alleged that the ACB was scuttling the inquiry.

The bench directed Havnur to personally go through the CDs submitted by Toke and see if there is any specific video of a traffic police personnel in Maharashtra accepting bribe.

The court will further hear the petition on March 29.

Toke had petitioned the HC seeking an FIR to be lodged and departmental inquiry to be initiated against the corrupt officials.

“The traffic policemen take money from trucks which ply sand illegally, trucks which evade octroi and which carry construction material, for illegal parking, drunken driving and so on,” the petition alleged.

It further alleged that the traffic police department collects Rs 40,000-50,000 from four-star and five-star hotels for allowing illegal parking outside their premises.

“There are thousands of illegal taxis and auto rickshaws plying in the city without requisite permissions. The traffic police personnel collect Rs 1,000-2,000 from each such vehicle every month and allow them to ply,” the petition claimed.

Toke, who is presently attached with Armed Police Force Worli division, was earlier posted with the Goregaon traffic police and also the Wadala traffic police.