Court refused to intrude into the process of investigation in political activist’s brutal murder case

Kerala High Court: Dealing as to whether the brutal murder of a political activist by a terrorizing bomb explosion in prosecution of a criminal design made by a rival political group amounts to “terrorist act”, a bench of P. Ubaid J upheld the decision of the Investigating Officer to proceed for investigation under Section 15 read with Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (U.A.P.A.) which deals with “terrorist activities”. 

In the instant case, during the investigation, a special investigation team filed a report before the Court to proceed for investigation under Section 15(1)(a)(i) read with Section 16(1)(a) of the U.A.P.A. which defines “terrorist activities” and provides punishment thereto.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner K. Gopalakrishna Kurup, challenged the decision of the Investigating Officer on the ground that the alleged act of offence will not amount to “terrorist act” and that the provisions in Section 15 of the U.A.P.A are similar to the provisions in Section 3 of the repealed TADA. The Counsel for the prosecution alleged that the intention of the accused was not merely to eliminate the deceased, but to eliminate the opponents one by one, and thus to weaken the other political party in its strong holds.

The Court found that the definition of “terrorist act” under the U.A.P.A gives wider definition and brings in even “likelihood of causing terror in the mind of the people” by using bombs etc which was not there in Section 3 of the repealed TADA. The Court noted that “any act likely to strike terror in the mind of the people by bomb explosion or by use of explosives or other substances in the process of causing murder or causing injury or causing damage or destruction of property in prosecution of some criminal design, will definitely attract Section 15 of the U.A.P.A” and that “in such a situation, it cannot be said that the Investigating Agency has transgressed the limits, or has traveled beyond the border line fixed under the law by filing a report before the Court to proceed under Section 15 and 16 instead of Section 13 of the U.A.P.A.”.

The Court refused to interfere in the investigation process on the finding that the Court can interfere under Section 482 of the CrPC, when the investigation process is totally unjustifiable or illegal, or in breach of the provisions of any law, thus causing serious prejudice and hardship to the person facing such investigation or prosecution, however the same is not a situation in the instant case. Therefore, the Court directed investigation in progress under the U.A.P.A to proceed. Vikraman v. State of Kerala, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 664, decided on 03-02-2015.

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