Ms. Bharadwaj’s lawyer asks why two directions, which could have been given only by an NIA judge, were given by K.D. Wadane.
The Bombay High Court on July 6 directed the Maharashtra government to produce relevant records in the plea by trade unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj that the judge who granted an extension to Pune police to file the chargesheet in the Bhima Koregaon case and took cognizance of the chargesheet filed was not authorised to do so.
Advocate Yug Chaudhry representing Ms. Bharadwaj, lodged at Byculla jail, was appearing before a Division Bench of justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar. He said K.D. Wadane passed two significant orders, one on November 26, 2018, granting an extension of 180 days for filing the chargesheet as opposed to 90 days stipulated under the Code of Criminal Procedure; and the second on December 21, 2019, when he received the chargesheet, took cognizance of it and issued processes.
Mr. Chaudhry showed to the court that both the orders were signed by Mr .Wadane. The designation in one order read ‘special judge’ and ‘special Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) judge’ in the other order.
Mr. Chaudhry said Right to Information replies received from the High Court showed Mr. Wadne was an additional judge and not a special judge. He added that the UAPA neither has special courts nor special judges.
Despite there being other NIA judges at the Sessions Court in Pune, this matter was taken up by Mr. Wadne, he alleged. “Both the directions could have been given only by an NIA judge. How did Mr. Wadne come into the picture?” he asked.
He said the State government had to explain why the case was taken up by Mr. Wadane when other judges were available. “The burden lies on the State and enough time has been given to them to reply to this.”
The court said, “We wish to verify the information from the High Court registry” and posted the matter to be heard on July 8.
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