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  Metros   Mumbai  07 Mar 2019  Suspension of 11 cops’ sentence perverse: Bombay HC

Suspension of 11 cops’ sentence perverse: Bombay HC

Published : Mar 7, 2019, 2:15 am IST
Updated : Mar 7, 2019, 2:15 am IST

In 2015, Ramnarayan Gupta’s brother Ramprasad Gupta challenged the decision in the high court on the grounds that it was illegal.

Ramnarayan Gupta
 Ramnarayan Gupta

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday set aside a state government order suspending the conviction of 11 policemen who were awarded life imprisonment for the fake encounter of gangster Chhota Rajan’s alleged aide Ramnarayan Gupta.

In 2015, Ramnarayan Gupta’s brother Ramprasad Gupta challenged the decision in the high court on the grounds that it was illegal.

On Wednesday, a division bench of Justices B.P. Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite-Dere set aside the government’s decision and said it was “perverse and unsustainable in law”. “It appears all agencies of the government facilitated the release of the 11 convicted persons by submitting biased reports,” the court said in its judgment.

The bench held that there was complete “non-application of mind” by all authorities, including the sessions court judge, additional director general of police and the commissioner of police, while submitting their opinion to the government.

“It is apparent that the sessions judge did not have the relevant material before him when he gave his opinion. We find that there is complete non-application of mind by the judge while giving his opinion,” the court said.

The court noted that when the government seeks the opinion of a judge in such cases, the objective is to ensure the judge would consider the nature of the crime conducted, the previous record of the convict, his background and other relevant factors.

The judge’s opinion would then enable the government to take the right decision as to whether or not a suspension of a sentence should be granted, the court said. “Hence, the judge cannot abdicate his duty in a casual or cavalier manner, as has been done in the present case,” the judgment read. The court noted that as per provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), it is the state government, which ought to have approached the judge for an opinion on the suspension of sentence.

“Instead, it is the jail authorities who approached the sessions court judge. The authorities, in fact, approached the wrong judge,” the court said. As per the provisions, the same judge, who gave the conviction and sentence order, should be approached. If that judge is unavailable, then an opinion should be sought from his successor, the HC said.

Soon after Ramprasad Gupta approached the high court in 2015 against the government’s decision, the court stayed the release of the 11 policemen and directed them to surrender.

Ramnarayan Gupta was killed allegedly in a fake encounter in suburban Andheri in November 2006. Later, 22 people, including 13 policemen, were charged for the killing.

Tags: bombay high court, chhota rajan