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MCOCA constitutionally valid: HC

March 05, 2003 13:40 IST

Disposing of petitions filed by film financier Bharat Shah and two others, justices V G Palshikar and S A Bobade of the Mumbai high court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

The court, however, struck down certain provisions of MCOCA. They are sections 13 (appointment of competent authority), section 14 (authorisation of interception of wire, electronic or oral communication), section 15 (constitution of committee for review of authorisation orders) and section 16 (prohibition of interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications).

The court also partially struck down section 21 (5) to the extent that an accused shall not be granted bail for alleged offences under this act if he has been granted bail under some other act.

The trial in the case of alleged Bollywood-underworld nexus will now resume in a special court on Thursday. The prosecution had deferred it until the high court gave its ruling on MCOCA.

According to prosecutor Rohini Salian, the high court ruling would not have any bearing on the case because the alleged telephonic talks between Bharat Shah, producer Nasim Rizvi and Pakistan-based gangster Chhota Shakeel were intercepted under the Indian Telegraph Act and not MCOCA.

Shah, facing the charge of forging links with the underworld to target film personalities for financial gains, prayed that the legislature had no powers to enact MCOCA because it was ultra vires the Constitution. He also urged that the act be struck out or trial be stayed. Government counsel Srihari Aney and Rohini Salian submitted that the state had powers to frame the law and MCOCA had already received the President's assent.

Two others who challenged the constitutional validity of MCOCA were Shamim Mirza Arif Beg and Sanjay Patil. While Shamim is an alleged associate of Chhota Shakeel, the other is facing the charge of land grabbing and extortion.

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