Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nawab Malik bail plea on medical grounds: Supreme Court to hear challenge against Bombay High Court on July 17

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned to July 17, the hearing on a petition filed by Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik,challenging the Bombay High Court order, which denied him interim bail on medical grounds.

The orders were passed by the Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan on a special leave petition filed by Malik against May 2 order of the Bombay High Court adjourning his medical bail application to June 6. 

The High Court of Bombay had refused to grant interim bail on medical grounds to Malik on Thursday and directed the matter to be listed after two weeks to be heard on its merits. 

The petitioner contended that the prolonged pendency in the bail application was contrary to the principles of law laid down by the Apex Court and grounds for his release on interim bail in view of his deteriorating health condition.

Responding to the arguments, Additional Solicitor-General for India SV Raju apprised the Bench that the Bombay High Court had heard Malik’s interim bail application and rejected the same yesterday. He said the regular bail matter would be taken up after two weeks. 

Noting that the petition had been filed against an adjournment which the High Court had sought, the ASG said the matter has become infructuous now. He further pointed out that Malik had argued this only with respect to interim bail. 

The lawyer appearing for the petitioners argued that the plea ought to be heard at length by the Court. Seeking an adjournment for next week, he said that he was being led by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal. 

The Bench observed that the petitioner may challenge the interim bail application, which has been rejected by the Bombay High Court. The Apex Court further told the counsel representing the petitioner to take instructions on the same.

However, the counsel argued that the petition had not become infructuous and sought adjournment in the case.

The Apex Court said that this was an interim order, it cannot pass any orders. The Bench noted that on the insistence of the petitioner, it had requested the High Court to hear and dispose of the application, which was the only order possible.

ASG Raju also said that the purpose of the petition had been achieved, adding that nothing survived in it.

But the counsel for Malik insisted for a hearing on Monday. The top court of the country then agreed to hear the matter on July 17.

On July 13, the High Court of Bombay had refused to grant temporary bail on medical grounds to Malik, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudessai, while denying temporary relief to the NCP leader, said that it would hear Malik’s regular bail petition on merits in two weeks.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested Malik in March 2022 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) over his alleged connection to fugitive underworld Dawood Ibrahim and his sister Haseena Parkar.

He was arrested on charges of purchasing a property at a rate lower than market value from gangster Dawood Ibrahim. He was allegedly picked up from his residence at 7 am on February 23.

After interrogation for over eight hours, Malik was arrested and remanded to ED custody for eight days, after which he was remanded to judicial custody.

Earlier on November 30, Special Judge R.N. Rokade in Maharashtra had denied him bail on the grounds that prima facie, there was evidence to indicate that a conspiracy had been hatched by Dawood’s sister Hasina Parkar, his driver Salim Patel and Malik to grab prime land owned by one Munira Plumber and her mother Mariyum Goawala.

Though Malik was not named in the scheduled offence but even otherwise, every process or activity, fell within the ambit of definition of money ­laundering, the Trial Court had observed.

The NCP leader challenged this order before the High Court, contending that despite finding flaws in the statement of witness Munira Plumber, the special court rejected his bail and even overlooked his serious medical condition.

Earlier, he had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the High Court, which was dismissed. The Supreme Court had also upheld the High Court order.

The former Maharashtra Minister had applied for regular bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, after the Special PMLA Court took cognisance of the charge sheet in May 2022.

Earlier in April this year, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, seeking bail on medical grounds.

Appearing for Malik, Sibal said that one of his kidneys has already failed and the other one was giving away.

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