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HC rejects Abu Jundal’s plea to appear in courts

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The Bombay High Court rejected the plea of Sayyed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, prime accused in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, to quash a Maharashtra Government Resolution (GR) which prohibited him from appearing in the courts as he had threat to his life.

Jundal’s lawyer Ejaz Naqvi prayed that his client had a right under the Constitution to appear before the courts in cases filed against him because he had to defend himself. A bench of Justices N H Patil and Anujha Prabhudessai said that there were many criminal cases pending against Jundal, such as 26/11 terror attack case, Aurangabad arms haul case and conspiracy to attack police training camp in Nasik.

“In view of the sensitive nature of the cases, there may be danger to Jundal’s life as informed by police to the state and therefore the court cannot interfere by quashing the GR of the government. Moreover, the trial court had the powers to call him whenever necessary,” said the bench. Government Pleader J P Yagnik said the Mumbai Police Commissioner had informed the state that Jundal had threat to his life. Thereafter, on May 23, 2013, the government came out with a GR imposing a ban on his appearance in cases in which he is an accused.

“If Jundal was allowed to come to the court and something happens to him, then who would be responsible for this?” he asked.

Yagnik said that Jundal could be produced before the court through the medium of video conference and his physical appearance was not necessary. Jundal’s lawyer argued that the impugned GR was contrary to fundamental right of public hearing and a free and fair trial of the Constitution. Hence, it was void, vague, unconstitutional and arbitrary.

Jundal, facing charges of participating in the conspiracy in 26/11 terror attack case, is currently lodged in solitary confinement in Central Jail at Arthur Road in Central Mumbai, since February 2013. According to police, Jundal had gone to Pakistan to train the terrorists in speaking Hindi. Ten terrorists, who arrived in Mumbai via sea route on November 26, 2008, killed 166 persons and injured many others by firing indiscriminately in public places.

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