Case Briefs
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Prakash Kumar @ Prakash Bhutto vs State of Gujarat


Author: Lakshya Raj Singh Rathore, 1st year Student at Institute Of Law, Nirma University.


Citation: (2005) 2 SCC 409: (2005) SCC (Cri) 518

Date of Decision: January 12, 2005

Bench: H.K.Sema, R.C.Lahoti, B.N.Agarwal, G.P.Mathur and P.K.BalaSubramaniyam

Original Copy: View

Statues Involved:

  • Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention)Act 
  • Indian Penal Code

 

Issues in question:

  • Validity of section 15 of the TADA act.
  • The power provided to the designated court as per article 12 of the act 

Background of the case:

  • The matter had come up before this five judge bench when the three judge bench by an order passed on March 9 2004 referred to it. 
  • The issue, which was referred to the five judge bench by a two judge bench for assessing the legal intent of section 12, 15 and section 18 of the act.

Judgment:

  • The bench from this appeal observed the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 1987 from different perspective and judgments and also stated that this act was passed to prevent any activities which promotes terrorism in the country and to punish the people very strictly who indulge themselves into such practices. The judgment given in Kartar Singh v State of Punjab the constitutional validity of this act was established and in that case it was said by the judges that the people who are tried under TADA have to go through different procedure of trial so to achieve the meaning of the act the harsh nature of the act is justified and since section 15 of the act does not violate article 14 or article 21 of the constitution so it cannot be struck down because these articles provides certain exceptions based on intelligible differentia and reasonable classification.
  • The TADA act had gone through various amendments over the course of time where the government added different types of weapons and places to widen the scope of the act, but the act since does not define the term terrorist in the act so there are chances for it to get misused and to stop such misuse the Supreme Court in Hitendra Vishnu Thakur v State of Maharashtra defined the term terrorist.
  • Then the bench taking in regards the issue in the present appeal regarding the confession noted from the case of Bilal Ahmed Kaloo v State of A.P. that the confessions made to a police officer cannot be made admissible in the court if without other evidences for the offenses are under TADA or IPC, Similarly here the referred question regarding the confessional statement to remain admissible for section 12 TADA offences when accused was acquitted for these offences.
  • To these questions the bench replied that the legislative intendment of the laws and schemes is to maintain law and order in the society, similarly the section 15 of the act deals with the confessions made to police officers as it is believed that the accused might be under torture or the confession has been made out of fear thus this section has been added to the acts. This section has an overriding effect over CrPC and evidence act.
  • Section 12 states for the powers of the divisional court to take up other different offences and provides the power to the bench to try those offences and give the punishment authorised by the act if the accused is found guilty.
  • The bench after going through the arguments given by the counsel for appellants mentioned that the statute should be read without leaving any word because then the meaning and the object of the act cannot be achieved if some provisions are not taken into consideration, as can be observed from the case RBI v Peerless General Finance and Investment where the judges mentioned the importance of reading a statute as a whole.
  • Thus the court relying on the precedents (mainly the State v Nalini and Kartar Singh v State of Punjab) and the purview of the act and the powers which the act provides held that the designated courts have the authority to try offences other than mentioned in the act but this power must not be misused as provided to them under section 18 of the act and thus in the present case the appeals must be listed before regular bench.

Critical Analysis:

  • Through this appeal the apex court had very well defined the purview of the act and the objects which the act aims to fulfil.
  • Also the implications of different sections of the act can be understood by looking at the precedents and the application given by the Supreme Court over the course of time.
  • The present appeal very well defines section 12, 15 and 18 of the terrorist and disruptive activities (prevention) act.

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