- Court says it cannot pass order against its earlier order; allows accused to apply for regular bail in trial court
Mumbai, Jun 7: The Bombay High court setting aside the MCOCA court’s order granting interim bail to journalist Ketan Tirodkar observed that the lower court’s order was indeed nothing short of judicial improbability. However, justice A M Khanwilkar gave choice to Tirodkar to appeal in the trial court within two weeks seeking regular bail. The MCOCA court will decide the bail application within four weeks from then.
Tirodkar was put under MCOCA after he confessed in a private complaint lodged by himself before the MCOCA court against Daya Nayak and others that he used to talk to gangsters such as Chhota Shakeel and Fahim Machmach. However, after his arrest on July 9, 2004, Tirodkar got temporary bail even though stringent MCOCA was slapped in his case, in record time of less than 15 days.
The state challenged the MCOCA court order dated July 23, 2004 on August 25, 2004 stating that according to rule 21 (4) no person, accused of an offence punishable under this act shall, if in custody, be released on bail or on his own personal bond unless (a) the Public Prosecutor has been given an opportunity to oppose the application of such release; and (b) where a Public Prosecutor opposes the application, the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail. The High court setting aside the temporary bail granted to Tirodkar asked the trial court to reconsider the same and give reasons behind passing the order.
As the issue was before the MCOCA court Tirodkar’s appeal over issues such as powers of the Special court to take cognisance of case under section 9 (1) of the stringent act, and sanction for investigation by an officer of the rank of Addl. D G and above came before full bench for hearing.
The three-judge bench almost upheld Tirodkar’s arguments. In the MCOCA court, Tirodkar was again granted interim bail of Rs. 1 lac on August 4, 2005. The state appealed against this order on October 21, 2005 on the grounds that despite the directions from the High Court, there were no specific reasons mentioned in the bail order substantiating the bail.
The court, after hearing arguments from both the state and Tirodkar, asked the accused who had moved the court with regular bail application whether he wanted the court to decide the bail application or he wanted to apply for regular bail before the trial court.
The court hinted that in case of the accused opting for the former he will need to be arrested as bail could not be granted without arrest is caused. Also, he will lose an opportunity to appeal as once the bail is rejected by the High court the only place he could have appealed is the Supreme court. Tirodkar obviously opted for the second choice.