Trial in three Maharashtra terror cases stayed

February 29th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday temporarily suspended the trial of three major cases of terrorism in Maharashtra, including the July 2006 serial bombings of Mumbai suburban trains and the September 2006 twin bomb blasts in Malegaon. The third case was related to the recovery of a huge cache of arms and ammunition in Aurangabad.

A bench of Justices B.N. Agrawal and G.S. Singhvi stayed the trial on three separate petitions which challenged the constitutional validity of the state’s stringent law, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The trial was on in a designated Mumbai court dealing with those booked under MCOCA.

In their separate petitions, three under-trials have contended before the apex court that they have been charged with insurgency under section 2(1)(e) of the MCOCA, though under the constitutional provisions no state government is empowered to legislate on subjects like insurgency and terrorism.

The petitioners contended that the word ‘insurgency’ is related to the subject matter of defence of India, specially enumerated in the Union List of the constitution and accordingly only the central government was empowered to enact a law on insurgency and terrorism.

The three petitioners sought the apex court’s direction for deletion of the word ‘insurgency’ occurring in the section 2(1)(e) of MCOCA and invalidate their trial under a law which, they argued, was legally and constitutionally unsound.

The there petitioners are Zameer Ahmed Latifur Rehman Sheikh, facing prosecution in the July 2006 Mumbai train bombings; Mohammed Muzaffar Mohammed Tanveer, accused of amassing a huge cache of arms and ammunition recovered from Aurangabad in 2006; and Sabeer Ahmed Mashiullah, accused of being involved in the September 2006 bombing of Muslim-dominated Malegoan town.

They moved the Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court dismissed their petitions.

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