New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by former Mumbai Police officer Sachin Waze, seeking to quash the sanction granted to prosecute him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the Antilia bomb scare case
A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal said there is no reason to “clothe” the high court here with the territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the relief sought in Waze’s petition, when “the alleged offence, the subsequent complaint and investigation, the FIRs and the RC, filing of the chargesheet and all proceedings relating thereto, including custody of the accused, have all taken place in Mumbai”.
“Courts at Mumbai would have the natural and logical jurisdiction to decide issues challenged in this writ petition…. The writ petition is therefore dismissed for lack of territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the relief sought,” the court said in its 15-page order.
The court said the mere fact that the authority that awarded the sanction for prosecution under UAPA — the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) — is located in Delhi would not give it the jurisdiction to deal with the case.
The Centre had earlier opposed Waze’s petition on grounds that it was not maintainable before the Delhi High Court and it should have been filed before the Bombay High Court as everything related to the case happened in Mumbai.
Waze had claimed that the Delhi High Court had territorial jurisdiction over the issue as the sanction order was passed by the 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 terrorist acts, claiming that it is ultra vires of Articles 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 the grant of the consequential relief.
The MHA had given the sanction to prosecute Waze in September last year in the case related to an explosives-laden vehicle found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house, “Antilia”, in Mumbai and the killing of businessman Hiren Mansukh.
According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the chargesheet in the case was filed under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including those dealing with the offences of murder, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and negligent conduct with respect to explosive substances, as well as under the provisions of the UAPA, the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act.
The explosives-laden sports utility vehicle (SUV) was found near “Antilia” on February 25, 2021. Mansukh, who had claimed that the vehicle was stolen from his possession, was found dead in a creek in Thane in Maharasthra on March 5 last year.