HC to hear petition against health minister in criminal case

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Panaji, Aug 24 (UNI) Justice N A Britto of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court tomorrow will hear the petition filed by social activist Advocate Aires Rodrigues, challenging the July 9 order of city Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Edgar Fernandes refusing to summon Divya Rane, wife of health minister Viswajit Rane, in the threat to kill case filed against the minister.

The High Court had already issued notice to the minister, who will be represented by senior counsel Mr Mahesh Jethmalani.

In his Petition under article 227 of the Constitution of India, Mr Rodrigues had submitted that the JMFC's order was ''in excess of jurisdiction with grave jurisdictional errors as the JMFC misdirected himself in law and travelled beyond his jurisdiction, in rejecting the application made to summon Ms Divya Rane as a witness.'' ''The JMFC's finding that Ms Divya Rane was not a material witness to the case was perverse and muzzles the criminal case against the Health Minister,'' he stated.

An ordinary citizen's life was threatened by a rich and powerful minister and the nefarious attempts of the accused Minister to keep out relevant and material evidence by objecting to the witness summons had succeeded in view of the JMFC's order which now needs to be struck down, he averred.

Mr Rodrigues had in his petition also stated that since the alleged threatening call came from the mobile of the Ms Divya Rane, the circumstances under which the mobile came in the possession of the accused Mr Vishwajit Rane was very much relevant.

The petitioner had further submitted that whether the mobile was given to Mr Vishwajit Rane by Ms Divya Rane at the time of the incident or earlier and whether Ms Divya Rane was present when the call was made or heard the statements made in the call were all facts within her knowledge making her an important material witness in the criminal case.

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