Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Malegaon Blasts: Bombay High Court judge recuses herself from hearing case

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The Judge of Bombay High Court Justice Revati Mohite Dere on Friday recused herself from hearing cases related to 2008 Malegaon blasts.

The judge was hearing the case when counsel for one of the accused in the case pointed out to the judge that she had appeared as a counsel for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is the prosecuting agency in the case, before being elevated as judge.

 Sameer Kulkarni, who is an accused told the division bench that comprised Justice Sharmila Deshmukh that Justice Dere had appeared as a counsel for NIA in 2011 when one the accused had approached the High Court with a petition.

The accused showed the orders reflecting the same. He also apologised to the court for bringing this matter to the knowledge of court at a later stage as he was unaware of the bench and came across the order recently.

Although the counsel for NIA Sandesh Patil expressed his ‘no-objection’ to the judge continuing to hear the plea, but the judge deemed it fit to recuse from hearing the matters. 

The Court was hearing a plea filed by Kulkarni challenging an order of the special NIA court permitting examination of a witness who was not in the prosecution list.

Till date the bench has conducted 7 hearings in the case pertaining to the petitions in case including the last hearing which was on Friday.

The bench during an earlier hearing had expressed its disinclination to intervene with the order of the lower court.

It was last month when the division bench led by Justice Dere had directed the Special NIA Court to submit fortnightly reports to the High Court regarding the progress of the trial.

The trial is for the blast that took place after a bomb was strapped to a motorcycle had gone off in a Malegaon market in 2008 and killing 40 people while more than 10 were injured.

The case involves other accused like Member of Parliament, Pragya Singh and Lt. Col. Purohit

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