Antilia bomb scare case: Delhi HC has jurisdiction to hear plea against UAPA sanction, says Waze

  • | Monday | 24th January, 2022

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Former Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze Monday told the Delhi High Court that it has the territorial jurisdiction to hear his plea challenging the sanction granted to prosecute him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with industrialist Mukesh Ambani"s Antilia bomb scare case as the order was passed by the Central government in Delhi.The Centre has raised preliminary objections to the maintainability of Waze"s petition on the ground that it should have been filed before Bombay High Court as everything related to the case happened in Mumbai. However, the former officer submitted that under the law, there is a provision of a review committee looking into the matter before passing the sanction order and that committee also sits in Delhi.“Only the Delhi High Court will have the territorial jurisdiction if I am challenging the sanction order of September 2, 2021, passed by the Central government,” Waze’s counsel submitted before a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani.Senior advocate Puneet Bali, representing Waze, said it does not make any difference that the FIR was registered in Mumbai and trial will be conducted there.“The documents were sent by the investigating agency to Delhi. I am not challenging anything done by the Mumbai Police or NIA. I am challenging the sanction order passed by the Central government in Delhi,” he argued.Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing the Centre, said if the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel are accepted then every challenge to the sanction granted under the provisions of the UAPA will come to Delhi.“The better court will be Mumbai notwithstanding the sanction order passed here,” he contended.On being asked by the court whether the sanction order can be challenged at this stage, Lekhi responded in negative.However, the petitioner’s counsel said it can be challenged and sought further time to address the court on the issue.The court listed the matter for further hearing on February 2.Waze’s counsel had earlier submitted that the Delhi High Court has territorial jurisdiction over the issue as the sanction order was passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which is located in the national capital.The plea, filed through advocate Chaitanya Sharma, sought to strike down section 15(1) of the UAPA, relating to the terrorist act, claiming that it is ultra vires of Article 14 (equality before law) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the constitution.It also sought to quash and set aside the sanction order of September 2, 2021, passed by the Centre and grant consequential reliefs.The MHA had given the sanction for prosecution of Waze in September last year in the case of an SUV with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani"s house in Mumbai and the murder of businessman Hiren Mansukh.According to a release of NIA, the charge sheet was filed under various provisions of the IPC, including murder, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, and negligent conduct concerning explosive substances and under the provisions of the UAPA, Explosive Substances Act, and Arms Act.The SUV was found near Antilia on February 25, 2021. Mansukh, who had claimed that the vehicle had been stolen from his possession, was found dead in a creek in Thane on March 5 last year. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS

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