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Judge lays down jurisdiction norm

New Delhi, Dec. 18: Special judge S.N. Dhingra, who sentenced the Parliament attack convicts to death, said Delhi High Court’s single bench had no jurisdiction to hear any appeal against the order of the designated trial court under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

But he admitted that the taped conversation relating to convict S.A.R. Geelani, a suspended Delhi University lecturer, could not be treated as evidence under the anti-terror law as the wiretapping was done in violation of its provisions.

High court judge M.A. Khan, in his October 30 order, had refused to accept intercepts of a telephone conversation relating to Geelani as evidence under the anti-terror law. The court had, however, left it to Dhingra to accept the taped conversation as evidence under the Telegraph Act and Indian Penal Code.

“A single judge is not authorised to hear the appeal against the order of designated judge,” Dhingra observed.

Certain sections of the Prevention of Terrorism Act make it clear that only a bench of two judges can hear the appeal against any order of the designated court, the verdict said.

“It seems that provisions of Section 34 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act were not brought to the notice of single judge of Hon’ble High Court by either party (prosecution or defence),” he said.

The special judge quoted Supreme Court judgments to drive the point home that it is the legislature which has the power to enlarge judgments, not courts.

However, Dhingra said he was bound by the judgment of Delhi High Court as it was a superior court. The taped conversation between Geelani and his half-brother a day after the attack was admissible for other offences though it could not be used as evidence under the anti-terror law, he said.

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