Court to proceed with Terrorist Madhani’s pending cases

published on April 16, 2008

Madhani denies charges in five criminal cases

KOCHI: PDP chief Abdul Nasser Madhani on Tuesday denied charges in five criminal cases pending against him before the court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam.

In four of the five cases the allegation was that he promoted enmity between different groups on religious ground and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, which is an offence “punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both” under 157-A of Indian Penal Code.

He is alleged to have committed the offence by making provocative speeches at Nilambur, Sasthamkotta, Sooranad and Aluva during 1992 to 1994 while he was heading the banned organisation, Islamic Sevak Sangh (ISS).

The other case relates to the destruction of public property at Thiroorangadi on September 29, 2004. The Additional CJM read over the charges in all five cases and asked whether he accepted the same. He said no. So the court decided to proceed with the trial and issued summons to the witnesses in Nilambur case and directed to post the case to June 18 for examination of the witnesses.

In November last year, the Additional CJM had discharged Madhani from 16 out of 21 criminal cases pending against him before the court. The cases, pending in different courts in the state, had been transferred to Ernakulam on the orders of the Kerala High Court.

The discharge in seven out of the 16 cases was for want of sanction to prosecute him.

To prosecute a person for offence under Section 153A, prior sanction from the government is required. In absence of such a sanction the accused was liable to be discharged. In nine cases the discharge was on the ground of “limitation”. As per Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, no court shall take cognizance of certain offences after the expiry of the period of limitation.

The period of limitation for an offence under Section 153A is three years, since the offence falls in the category of offences punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years.

Since the prosecution failed to chargesheet the accused within three years of the alleged commission of the offence, the court is not competent to take cognizance of the offences alleged

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