Supreme Court asks Meghalaya govt to release Champion Sangma

SHILLONG Mar 21: The Supreme Court has asked the state government to release jailed cop-turn-militant, Champion R Sangma.

In its order, the Supreme Ciurt pointed out that though the prosecution has moved an application before the Court of Additional District Magistrate (Judicial), North Garo Hills, opposing the bail application made by Champion in the Court, in fact, no such bail application was ever filed by the petitioner.

“There was no question of filing any bail application in the first place as the petitioner was never arrested in this case,” the Supereme Court said.

The Supreme Court aslso sated that when the aforesaid application of the prosecution purportedly opposing the bail application of Champion was filed, the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) did not have any records of the case except the application which was put up before him and the averments made therein.

The Supreme Court said that no notice of this application was ever served upon the petitioner and the application was considered exparte and treating the averments made in the said application as gospel truth, the prayer made in the application was allowed.

“The effect of the aforesaid order passed by the Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) is that the petitioner remains in custody even when he is not arrested in the aforesaid case and has already been granted bail in all other cases,” the Supreme Court added.

The Court in its order noted that insofar as order dated 24.01.2018 is concerned, it is non-est, nullity and without any jurisdiction.

“Even if we presume, as contended by the learned counsel for the respondent, that the application dated 24.01.2018 was not happily worded, the main purpose of the application was to request the Court not to release the petitioner. Such an application was not admissible under any provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,” the Supreme Court said.

The Court also said that once order dated 24.01.2018 is treated as an order without jurisdiction, the custody of the petitioner, who has otherwise been released on bail in all other cases, is clearly illegal.

“We have not understood the manner in which the prosecution has acted in this case. Even if the allegations contained in Chargesheet No. 11/2012 dated 29.02.2012 in the aforesaid GR No. 72/2011 are serious, the respondent is supposed to act in accordance with law,” the High Court said.

The Sepreme Court also said that the manner in which the Meghalaya Government proceeded in this matter is clearly impermissible, violative of the rule of law and offends the petitioner’s right under Article 21 of the Constitution as he has been detained in custody by adopting totally faulty and illegal process.