The Supreme Court said “tentatively” on Tuesday that it was inclined to overturn part of the High Court’s order quashing the indictment against a defendant, allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, for the alleged breaches of the provisions of Karnataka. Organized Crime Control Act (KCOCA).
A court headed by Judge AM Khanwilkar told the lawyer appearing the accused that what was given to him was a “bonus” because the High Court of Karnataka also quashed the indictment against him for the offenses presumed under the KCOCA.
The highest court observed him during the hearing of the pleas including that filed by Kavitha Lankesh, sister of the journalist, contesting the order of April 22 of the High Court annulling the order of August 14, 2018 of the authority of police granting permission to invoke the KCOCA provision. for investigation against Mohan Nayak.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on the night of September 5, 2017, close to her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bangalore.
“We tentatively indicate to you that we are inclined to set aside the last part of the order. Upon prior approval, even if we uphold the finding made by the High Court, the fact remains that nothing prevents the agency investigation to investigate the factum of whether you are a member of this union or not and to present an indictment after having gathered the elements in this regard ”, declared the court, also composed of judges Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, to the lawyer appearing Nayak.
“As far as you are concerned, what has been given to you is a bonus. The indictment has also been quashed,” observed the judiciary, which reserved its order on the petitions.
The highest court also questioned the state attorney on how permission to invoke the KCOCA was granted by the authority without any prior offense being registered against the accused and how could he qualify as a member of the organized crime syndicate.
The state attorney said the preliminary indictment was filed under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Weapons Act and later, during the investigation, the role of the The accused was brought to the attention of the investigator, after which approval was sought.
“This indictment document comes after investigation. At this point, without any offense being recorded against this particular person, how can you consider him to be a member of the organized crime syndicate unless there is material that has been submitted to the authority to give its prior approval, observed the bench.
It is said that in order to be a member of the organized crime syndicate, a person has to be part of the continued illegal activity of the syndicate.
During oral argument, counsel for the accused stated that if the prosecution’s arguments are to be accepted, then anyone can be considered a union member.
When the lawyer called the law “draconian,” the judiciary said, “Once the validity of the law is confirmed, how can you say draconian? “.
“These laws have their own purpose,” said the bench.
The lawyer said the law had been misused and that is why they took the matter to court.
The judiciary said on the aspect of pre-approval, the accused’s lawyer may be right, but say that no offense has been recorded in the past and therefore cannot be to do everything, is not correct.
Kavitha Lankesh’s lawyer argued that the High Court erred in concluding that the KCOCA was not enforceable against the accused.
He referred to the role of the accused, as stated in the High Court order, and said that it was alleged that he had rented a house under the pretext of running an acupressure clinic, but that ‘it was intended to accommodate union members.
The panel, after hearing the submissions, asked the parties to file their written submissions within one week.