Court dismisses plea against bail rejection of Sehrai’s sons

Srinagar, November 26 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the High Court has dismissed an appeal against a special court’s order rejecting the bail of prominent martyred APHC leader and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chief, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai’s two sons and their cousin

They were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in May this year.

The prosecution case is that 33-year-old Mujahid Sehrai and his brother Rashid Sehrai, 35, were arrested along with other persons under the UAPA on May 16 this year after police registered an FIR at police station in Sogam against “unknown persons” for raising “anti-India slogans” and against the “sovereignty and integrity of India” while last rites of Sehrai were being performed at Tekipora Tulkhan village on May 6 this year.

This year on August 14, the Special Court for Trial of offenses under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Baramulla had dismissed bail of Sehrai’s sons in the case.

They moved the Special Court in IIOJK for grant of bail which dismissed their plea on July 19. In the appeal before the High Court, the accused challenged the order rejecting their bail because there was no material on record before the Special Court to hold that an offense under Section 18 of the ULA (P) Act against them.

Their contention was also that at the time when the Special Court granted extension in the period of investigation and detention of accused beyond 90 days, they had already spent more than 90 days in custody and, as such, they were entitled to grant of default bail.

As during the pendency of the appeal, the investigation of the case was completed and the charge-sheet filed before the Special Court, counsel for the accused submitted that he would like to confine the appeal to the question of grant of bail on the ground of default in filing the charge sheet within 90 days only.

In response to the contention of counsel representing the accused, the Indian government said more time for the culmination of the investigation was taken as data of seized mobile phones from FSL and transaction details of account numbers of accused persons from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND) was not received when the Special Court dismissed the bail plea. Besides this, the Special Court said that the report relating to transactions made with the account number of Mujahid Ashraf Khan through NEFT-SBI Global Line Services and NEFT Western Unit Financial Services was still awaited.

Dismissing the appeal, a division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Sanjay Dhar said, “So, it is a case where the Special Judge has meticulously applied his mind to the report of the Public Prosecutor and thereafter recorded a satisfaction that extension in the period of investigation and custody of the appellants and accused is necessary.” The bench said that the order passed by the Special Judge was lucid and well-reasoned. The bench held that order by the Special Court whereby a period of detention of the accused had been extended beyond 90 days by a law saying the very basis for claiming default bail was knocked down.

“However, having regard to the fact that investigation of the case is complete and the charge sheet has already been laid before the Special Court, we leave it open to the appellants (accused) to approach the Special Court for grant of bail on merits given the changed circumstances.”

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