The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crime act notice

New Delhi, July 8: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Maharashtra government on a special leave petition challenging the constitutionality of a law cracking down on organised crime, reports our legal correspondent.

A division bench of Justices Y.K. Sabharwal and G.P. Mathur asked the government to show cause why the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act should not be declared void and ultra vires of the Constitution.

The petition was moved by cattle grazer, Jai Singh, who was booked under the act for allegedly extorting Rs 3,000. Senior counsel A.K. Sanghi, appearing for Singh, described the act as “draconian” and it was violated Article 20 of the Constitution.

Under this article, “no person shall be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence”. Also, “no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once”.

Sanghi said under the organised crime act, a person’s “past offence would be taken into consideration” although he may have been acquitted for that offence. This violated Article 20, he said.

The case comes up for hearing after eight weeks.

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