MCOCA and UAPA: How the application of both are important in terror cases

New Delhi, May 1: The significant time lag between busting a case of terror and finding the culprit can go on to prove costly for an investigation team in court. The dropping of TADA charges against Abdul Karim Tunda, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative was a set back for the Delhi Police.

It is extremely difficult to prove before the court of law such cases since there is a time lag of at least ten years between filing the case and then finding the accused.

MCOCA and UAPA imp in terror cases

There have been debates galore in the recent past about the implementation of stronger terror laws so that the job of the investigators in fighting the case in court becomes easier.

However there is also another flip side to stringent laws and that is the possible misuse of the same. While no law should be misused it is time to tread that very fine line and ensure that police must make use of the existing laws and this Bombay High Court verdict will be a shot in the arm for them.

Application of both UAPA and MCOCA not wrong

The recent ruling by the Bombay High Court is a welcome move for all officers dealing with cases of terrorism. A verdict of a High Court will be applicable to the entire nation unless the Supreme Court interferes with it.

In a important ruling the Bombay High Court has said that an accused can be booked both under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and also the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The ruling came when the order of the trial was challenged in which it was said the provisions of both the Acts cannot be applied on the accused.

A banned terrorist organization is also part of a crime syndicate

The basic point of contention in the arguments was whether a terrorist organization banned under the UAPA can also be termed as being part of a crime syndicate. The trial court while deciding the matter said that the provisions of the MCOCA cannot be applied in a case booked under UAPA.

The state of Maharashtra however argued that a banned terrorist organization is very much part of a crime syndicate too. Hence it was wrong on part of the trial court to state that the provisions of both the UAPA and the MCOCA cannot be applied.

How does this verdict help the investigators

If the police are allowed to apply both the UAPA and the MCOCA, then it becomes easier for them to prove that an unlawful offence has been committed while being part of a criminal syndicate. Very often cases of terror are committed by a group of people.

An act of terror requires planning, surveillance, sourcing the material and also execution. This is always carried out by a group of more than 2 persons and hence it becomes important to book them under provisions which go on to prove that they were part of a criminal syndicate.

Courts often tend to blindly seek out explanations about how the police arrived at a conclusion that an act was committed as part of a criminal syndicate. In order to answer such questions the application of MCOCA and its equivalent laws become important to be applied in such cases.

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