A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed the bail plea of journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi, arrested for his alleged role in a terror attack on an Israeli diplomat, and extended his judicial custody till July 3 amid a piquant legal situation.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav extended Kazmi's custody amid a queer situation arising out of a sessions court ruling earlier this month, questioning the magisterial court's power to extend the judicial or police custody of an accused under anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The magisterial court's power to deal with the issues related to the custody of terror accused had been questioned by Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi on June 8.
"Neither they (Kazmi or the police) nor the court of CMM per se took the pain to see, assess and evaluate as to whether a CMM's court at all has any jurisdiction to pass
orders granting police custody remand, repeated custody remand and order extending the period of investigation / detention from 90 to 180 days," the ASJ had said.
ASJ Rathi had given his order on a revision petition by Kazmi against extension of his custody and that of the probe period of the case against him by another 90 days.
With Kazmi's judicial custody expiring on Friday, he was first produced before CMM Yadav, who refused to deal with the issue of extension of his custody citing ASJ Rathi's June 8 order and referred the matter to court of ASJ S C Malik, who was the officiating sessions judge for the day.
As ASJ Malik proceeded to hear the special cell's plea to extend Kazmi's custody, the prosecution counsel pointed out to him that this would amount to giving finality to ASJ Rathi's ruling that a magisterial court has no authority to adjudicate pleas for extension of custody of a terror accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
He said ASJ Rathi had merely raised a doubt and it was not a definitive ruling.
At this, ASJ Malik specifically authorised CMM's court to hear the special cell's plea for extension of Kazmi's judicial custody, which was eventually extended by Yadav till July 3.
While extending Kazmi's custody, CMM Yadav, however, rejected his bail plea. Kazmi had sought bail contending that he has been in illegal custody in the light of the sessions court ruling which had questioned the magisterial court's power to extend his custody and the probe period.
"In my considered opinion, once the issue as to whether this court has jurisdiction to grant judicial custody remand of accused and jurisdiction to extend the period of investigation is already under challenge before the ASJ, this court does not deem it appropriate to decide this (bail) application at this stage," the CMM said.Kazmi was arrested by the special cell of Delhi police on March 7 and is accused of various offences under the UAPA, the Explosive Substances Act and other offences under the Indian Penal Code.