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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Section 20-A of TADA -Mandatory - whether the power of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be exercised by either the Government or the Additional Police Commissioner, Surat in the instant case. - Apex court held that A careful reading of the section leaves no manner of doubt that the provision starts with a non obstante clause and is couched in negative phraseology. It forbids recording of information about the commission of offences under TADA by the Police without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police. The question is whether the power of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be exercised by either the Government or the Additional Police Commissioner, Surat in the instant case. Our answer to that question is in the negative. The reasons are not far to seek. We say so firstly because the statute vests the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the purpose. That being so, no one except the authority so designated, can exercise that power. Permitting exercise of the power by any other authority whether superior or inferior to the authority designated by the Statute will have the effect of re-writing the provision and defeating the legislature purpose behind the same - a course that is legally impermissible - Acquitted all accused as there was no evidence under penal laws apart from TADA = CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 92 OF 2009 Hussein Ghadially @ M.H.G.A Shaikh & Ors. …Appellants Versus State of Gujarat …Respondent = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41775

Section  20-A  of  TADA - Mandatory - whether  the  power  of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in the instant case. - Apex court held that A careful reading of the section leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose. That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally impermissible - Acquitted all accused as there was no evidence under penal laws apart from TADA  = 

       In Criminal (TADA) case No.59 of 1995 and 2 of  2000  arising  out  of
C.R. No.32 of 1993 the Designated Court has similarly convicted some of  the
accused persons who are (appellants before us in Criminal Appeals No.110  of
2009 and 659 of 2009). =

The State has also assailed in the appeals  filed  by
it the judgment of the Trial Court and sought enhancement  of  the  sentence
awarded to those convicted by it in Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009.=

It was contended that the conviction and sentence of  the  appellants
ought to be set aside not only because the provision of Section 20-A (1)  is
mandatory but also because the power to  grant  approval  for  recording  of
information about the commission of  an  offence  under  the  Act  could  be
exercised only by the  authority  concerned  under  such  provision  and  by
nobody else.
The  designated  authority  could  not,  contended  Mr.  Kumar
abdicate the exercise of power in favour of any other authority,  no  matter
such other authority was higher in rank to  the  designated  authority.
 It was also contended that if the law prescribes  a  particular  procedure  for
doing a particular thing then any such thing  could  be  done  only  in  the
manner prescribed or not at all.
Inasmuch as the  procedure  prescribed  by
law which  required  the  approval  of  the  competent  authority  to  grant
approval for recording the information had not been followed, the trial  and
conviction of the appellants in breach of a mandatory provision was  legally
unsustainable.

Apex court held that

whether these approvals  can  be  said
to be sufficient compliance with the provisions  of  Section  20-A  of  TADA
that reads as under:-

“20-A  Cognizance of offence.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code,  no  information  about  the
commission of an offence under this Act shall  be  recorded  by  the  police
without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police.

No court shall take cognizance of any offence under  this  Act  without  the
previous sanction of the Inspector-General of Police, or  as  the  case  may
be, the Commissioner of Police.”



17.   A careful reading of the above leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the
provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative
phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of
offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the
District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of
approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised
by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in
the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The
reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests
the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose.
 That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise
that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority
whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute
will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the
legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally
impermissible

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41775

T.S. THAKUR, C. NAGAPPAN
                                                           REPORTABLE

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 92 OF 2009

Hussein Ghadially @ M.H.G.A
Shaikh & Ors.                                      …Appellants

Versus

State of Gujarat                             …Respondent

                                    With

Criminal Appeals No.110 of 2009, 303-304 of 2009, 305 of  2009,  432-433  of
2009, 658-659 of 2009



                               J U D G M E N T

T.S. THAKUR, J.

1.    Common questions of law  arise  for  consideration  in  these  appeals
which were heard together and shall stand disposed of by this common  order.
The appeals arise out of two separate judgments delivered by the  Designated
Court at Surat both dated 4th October, 2008  whereby  the  Designated  Court
has while acquitting some of the accused  persons  convicted  the  rest  and
sentenced them to imprisonment for different periods ranging between  10  to
20 years. In Criminal (TADA) case No.41 of 1995 disposed  of  with  Criminal
(TADA) case No.1 of 2000 arising out of  C.R.  No.70  of  1993  relevant  to
Criminal Appeals No.92 of 2009 and 658 of 2009,  the  Designated  Court  has
convicted the appellants in those  appeals  while  respondents  in  Criminal
Appeal No.305 of 2009 filed by the State of Gujarat against  the  very  same
judgment have been acquitted. In Criminal  Appeals  No.432-33  of  2009  the
State has sought enhancement of the sentence awarded to those  convicted  by
the Trial Court.

2.    In Criminal (TADA) case No.59 of 1995 and 2 of  2000  arising  out  of
C.R. No.32 of 1993 the Designated Court has similarly convicted some of  the
accused persons who are (appellants before us in Criminal Appeals No.110  of
2009 and 659 of 2009). The State has also assailed in the appeals  filed  by
it the judgment of the Trial Court and sought enhancement  of  the  sentence
awarded to those convicted by it in Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009.

3.    The facts giving rise to the registration of I.C.Rs. No.32 and  70  of
1993 at Varccha and Surat Railway Police Stations in the  State  of  Gujarat
respectively leading to the  arrest  of  those  accused  of  committing  the
offences and their eventual conviction by the Trial Court have been set  out
at great length by the said Court below in  the  two  judgments  and  orders
impugned before us. We need not, therefore, recapitulate the entire  factual
backdrop in which the appellants were  tried,  found  guilty  and  sentenced
except to the extent it is absolutely necessary to do so. Suffice it to  say
that the two blasts one at Mini Hira Bazar,  Varccha  Road,  Surat  and  the
other at Platform 1, Surat Railway Station took place on 28th January,  1993
and 22nd April, 1993 respectively. In the incident that took place  at  Mini
Hira Bazar, Varccha Road, one minor girl barely 8 years old  lost  her  life
while as many as 11 others were injured.  The second incident at  the  Surat
Railway Station relevant to ICR No.70 of 1993 left as  many  as  38  persons
injured, some of them grievously. The prosecution case is that  the  genesis
of the two incidents mentioned above lay in  the  demolition  of  the  Babri
Masjid on 6th December, 1992  at  Ayodhaya  which  had  led  to  wide-spread
communal riots in several parts of the  country.   These  riots  took  place
even in the city of Surat causing damage to life and property to the  Muslim
community. With a view to giving relief to those affected by  such  riots  a
Relief Camp at Ranitalao area in the city of Surat was set up mainly by  the
accused  persons  including  Hussein  Ghadially,  Iqbal  Wadiwala,  Mohammad
Surti, Hanif Tiger and others. A makeshift office  adjacent  to  the  relief
camp provided to the accused persons space to hold their meetings.

4.    The prosecution alleges that on account of riots and  damage  suffered
by the Muslims, the accused persons nurtured a feeling that  the  Government
and  the  police  will  not  be  able  to  protect  their   community.   The
prosecution’s further case is that in order to protect the  members  of  the
Muslim community and also to retaliate against the  majority  community  the
accused persons initially decided to collect firearms, swords, spears,  iron
rods, country made bombs and gelatin bombs etc. and to distribute  the  same
to those who had converged in the  relief  camp.  It  was  also  decided  to
import firearms, bombs etc.  from  Abdul  Latif,  a  notorious  gangster  of
Ahmedabad who was known to accused No.1 Hussain Ghadially. Abdul  Latif  was
then in Dubai but later arrested and produced before the  Designated  Court.
He was killed in a police encounter during the trial.

5.    According to prosecution  appellant-Hussein  Ghadially  and  his  wife
alongwith Iqbal Wadiwala (A-2) went to Ahmedabad in Maruti  Van  No.  GJ  5A
5178 driven by one Bhupat Makwana. In order to  carry  arms  and  ammunition
including AK 47 rifles, cartridges and bomb  etc.  a  concealed  compartment
was created in the Maruti Van that was owned  by  appellant-Iqbal  Wadiwala.
The arms and ammunition supplied by Abdul Latif (since deceased)  were  then
placed in the secret chamber of the vehicle and transported  to  Surat.  The
prosecution alleges that the arms and ammunition to be  used  were  kept  at
different places for use to wreak vengeance against the majority  community.
The blasts that took place  on  28th  January,  1993  at  Mini  Hira  Bazar,
Varccha Road, Surat and at Surat Railway Station on 22nd April,  1993  were,
according to the prosecution, the culmination of the conspiracy  hatched  by
the  accused  and  the  efforts  made  by  them   including   their   active
participation in the sordid sequence leading  up  to  grievous  injuries  to
several persons including the killing of an innocent child.

6.    The prosecution further alleges that investigation into the  crime  by
the Surat Railway Police did not  lead  to  the  apprehension  of  the  real
culprits. This forced the  Director  General  of  Police  of  the  State  of
Gujarat to constitute an Action Group for  inquiry  and  investigation  into
the crime. In the course of investigation by the Action Group,  one  Mushtaq
Patel was apprehended  on  12th  March,  1995  in  connection  with  a  case
registered in Umra Police Station under the Arms  Act.   In  the  course  of
interrogation the said Mushtaq Patel revealed information  relating  to  the
bomb blast at Platform No.1 at Surat Railway Station.  This gave the  Action
Group a break that led to a series of arrest of persons responsible for  the
blasts and recovery of arms and ammunition comprising as many as  6  foreign
grenades, 2 AK 47 rifles and 199 live  cartridges.  The  arrest  of  accused
persons and the seizure of arms and ammunition in turn led to invocation  of
provisions of Terrorists  and  Disruptive  Activities  (Prevention)  Act  by
orders passed by the Additional Commissioner of Police,  G  Division,  Surat
city and/or by the State Government.

7.     Confessional  statements  of  the  accused  persons  were  after  the
application of the provisions of the said Act  recorded  by  the  Additional
Commissioner of Police and separate chargesheet in both  FIRs  filed  before
the Designated Court in which accused Yusuf Dadu was  shown  as  absconding.
Yusuf Dadu was subsequently apprehended and a supplementary  chargesheet  in
both the cases filed against him which came to be  numbered  as  TADA  cases
No.1 and 2 of 2000 in relation to the two incidents  aforementioned.  Before
the Designated Court the accused persons pleaded not guilty  and  claimed  a
trial.

8.    At the trial the prosecution examined as  many  as  120  witnesses  in
TADA case No. 41 of 1995 with 1 of 2000 and 105 witnesses in TADA  case  No.
59 of 1995 with 2 of 2000. The accused did not lead any defence.  The  Trial
Court eventually found some of the accused persons guilty while some  others
were acquitted giving them the benefit of doubt.  Those  found  guilty  were
sentenced to imprisonment ranging between 10 to  20  years  details  whereof
may be summarised as under:

|S.  |Appella|Accused|Conviction by    |Maximum    |Conviction by     |Maximum      |
|No. |nt/Accu|-Appeal|Designated Court |Sentence   |Designated Court  |Sentence     |
|    |sed    |No.    |in TADA Case no. |awarded by |in TADA Case no.  |awarded by   |
|    |       |       |41/1995 and      |Designated |59/1995 and 2/2000|Designated   |
|    |       |       |1/2000 arising   |Court in   |arising out of    |Court in TADA|
|    |       |       |out of C.R. No.  |TADA Case  |C.R. No. 32/1993  |Case no.     |
|    |       |       |70/1993          |no. 41/1995|(Mini Hira Bazar) |59/1995 and  |
|    |       |       |(Railway Station)|and 1/2000 |                  |2/2000       |
|1   |Husein |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ghadial|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |ly A1  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |       |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC,  s.     |             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |3,4,5 of Explosive|             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|2   |Iqbal  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Wadiwal|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |a A2   |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |       |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|3   |Mohamma|92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |d Gulam|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |@      |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |Mohamma|of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |d Surti|       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |A3     |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|4   |Mustaq |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ibrahim|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Patel  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A4     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3,4,5 of      |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A & 25(1)AA |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |of Arms Act.      |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A &    |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |25(1)AA of Arms  |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Act.             |           |                  |             |
|5   |Salim  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Chawal/|2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Manjro |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A5     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3,4,5|             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3(b) of       |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A &25(1)AA  |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |of Arms Act.      |             |
|    |       |       |and 25 and 27 of |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|6   |Ahzaz  |92 of  |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|20 years RI  |
|    |Ahmed  |2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|             |
|    |Patel  |and 110|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |A6     |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3(B) |             |
|    |       |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |of Explosive      |             |
|    |       |       |s. 3(b) of       |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |       |       |Explosive        |           |25 & 27 of Arms   |             |
|    |       |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |       |       |and 25 & 27 of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|7   |Aziz   |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |S. 201 R/W 120B   |10 years RI  |
|    |Ibrahim|2009   |A7               |           |IPC               |             |
|    |Patel  |       |                 |           |A8                |             |
|8   |Mehmood|110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |@ Baba |2009   |A8               |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Ibrahim|       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |Master |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |A10               |             |
|9   |Fazal  |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |Dawood |2009   |A9               |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Nagori |       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |       |       |                 |           |A11               |             |
|10  |Saeed  |110 of |Acquitted        |___        |s. 3(3) of TADA   |10 years RI  |
|    |Naadi @|2009   |A10              |           |r/w s. 120B IPC,  |             |
|    |Abdul  |       |                 |           |S. 5 of TADA, s. 5|             |
|    |Saeed  |       |                 |           |of Explosives     |             |
|    |Abdul  |       |                 |           |Substances Act,   |             |
|    |Mazid  |       |                 |           |25(1)A of Arms Act|             |
|    |Navdiwa|       |                 |           |A12               |             |
|    |la     |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|11  |Baba @ |110 of |                 |           |S. 6 of TADA r/w  |10 years RI  |
|    |Abdul  |2009   |                 |           |s. 120B IPC       |             |
|    |Khalik |       |                 |           |A9                |             |
|    |Ali    |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |Mohamma|       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |d      |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|    |Shaikh |       |                 |           |                  |             |
|12  |Yusuf  |658 of |s. 3(2)(ii) of   |10 years RI|s. 3(2)(i) of TADA|LI for 20    |
|    |Dadu @ |2009   |TADA r/w 120B    |           |r/w 120B IPC, 5 of|years        |
|    |Yusuf @|and 659|IPC, 5 of TADA,  |           |TADA, s. 302 r/w  |             |
|    |Yaasin |of 2009|307, 326, 325 and|           |120B IPC, s. 3(b) |             |
|    |@      |       |324 r/w 120B IPC,|           |& 5 of Explosive  |             |
|    |Abdulla|       |s. 3(b) & 5 of   |           |Substances Act and|             |
|    |Gulam  |       |Explosive        |           |25(1) A of Arms   |             |
|    |husen  |       |Substances Act   |           |Act.              |             |
|    |Nalband|       |r/w s. 120B IPC  |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |and 25(1) A of   |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |Arms Act.        |           |                  |             |
|    |       |       |A11              |           |                  |             |


9.     Appearing  for  the  appellants  Mr.  Sushil  Kumar,  learned  Senior
Counsel, strenuously argued that the trial and conviction of the  appellants
for offences with which they were charged is  vitiated  for  breach  of  the
mandatory provisions of Section 20-A (1) of  The  Terrorist  and  Disruptive
Activities Act (TADA).  That provision it was  contended  required  approval
of the District Superintendent of Police for recording  of  any  information
about the commission of an offence punishable under the said Act.   No  such
approval was, however,  either  sought  from  or  granted  by  the  District
Superintendent  of  police  concerned.   Approval  for  recording   of   the
information was instead obtained from the Additional Chief  Secretary,  Home
Department, Government of Gujarat who had no power to grant the  same  under
the  Act.  So  also  the  purported  approval  from  the  Additional  Police
Commissioner, Surat was of no legal  effect  as  the  power  to  grant  such
approval vested only in the District Superintendent of Police and could  not
be exercised by the Additional Commissioner of Police or anyone  holding  an
equivalent rank. The power to grant  approval  being  a  sina  qua  non  for
recording of any information about the commission of any offence  under  the
Act, absence of such approval was according to Mr. Sushil  Kumar  sufficient
by itself to vitiate  any  trial  that  was  held  in  breach  of  the  said
provision.  Reliance in support of that submission was placed by  Mr.  Kumar
upon several decisions of this Court including one in Aniruddhsinhji  Jadeja
& Anr. v. State of Gujarat (1995) 5 SCC 302  to  which  we  shall  presently
turn.  It was contended that the conviction and sentence of  the  appellants
ought to be set aside not only because the provision of Section 20-A (1)  is
mandatory but also because the power to  grant  approval  for  recording  of
information about the commission of  an  offence  under  the  Act  could  be
exercised only by the  authority  concerned  under  such  provision  and  by
nobody else.  The  designated  authority  could  not,  contended  Mr.  Kumar
abdicate the exercise of power in favour of any other authority,  no  matter
such other authority was higher in rank to  the  designated  authority.   It
was also contended that if the law prescribes  a  particular  procedure  for
doing a particular thing then any such thing  could  be  done  only  in  the
manner prescribed or not at all.  Inasmuch as the  procedure  prescribed  by
law which  required  the  approval  of  the  competent  authority  to  grant
approval for recording the information had not been followed, the trial  and
conviction of the appellants in breach of a mandatory provision was  legally
unsustainable.

10.   Mr. Yashank Adhyaru, learned Counsel for the State of Gujarat, on  the
other hand, contended that there was in the present cases no requirement  of
prior approval for recording information about the  commission  of  offences
under  TADA  inasmuch  as  the  first  information  reports  about  the  two
incidents were registered  on  28th  January,  1993  and  22nd  April,  1993
whereas Section 20-A (1) was inserted in the Act subsequently on  22nd  May,
1993. Alternatively it  was  contended  by  the  learned  counsel  that  the
approvals granted by the Government and the Additional  Police  Commissioner
were valid and  substantially  complied  with  the  requirements  prescribed
under Section 20-A (1).

11.   Before we deal with the contentions urged at the bar we need  to  sail
smooth on the facts relevant to the registration of the two FIRs. The  first
case relevant to the blast  at  Mini  Hira  Bazar,  Varaccha  Road,  led  to
registration of C.R. No.32 of 1993  not  only  for  commission  of  offences
under the IPC and Explosive Substances Act but also under TADA.  Almost  one
year after the registration of the FIR, on 24th  January,  1994  the  Police
Commissioner, Surat instructed Varaccha Police Station to  remove  the  TADA
provision from C.R. No.32 of 1993.  These instructions came in the  wake  of
a decision taken by the TADA Review Committee in its meeting  held  on  24th
January, 1994.  The instructions were carried out and TADA offences  deleted
from the two cases in hand.  Subsequent to the deletion of  TADA  from  C.R.
No.32 of 1993, a request was made by P.C. Pandey Police Commissioner,  Surat
to the Home Department, Government of  Gujarat  for  re-application  of  the
provisions of TADA. The Police Commissioner pointed out that a Russian  made
hand grenade was used in the blast.  Approval  for  re-application  of  TADA
provisions was pursuant to the said request granted by the Additional  Chief
Secretary, Home Department, Government of Gujarat  on  12th  May,  1995  and
intimated to the Additional Commissioner of Police, Surat.   In  his  letter
dated 8th May, 1995, the Police Commissioner,  Surat  City  sought  approval
for reintroduction of TADA provisions in the following words:

“In the offence registered at Varacha Police Station, explosion was done  by
a Russian made grenade which was revealed  when  accused  were  arrested  in
Surat Railway P.St. O. Reg. No.I  60/93.   Hence  it  is  required  that  in
Varacha Police Station I O.Reg. No. 32/93 sections of 302,  307,  324,  326,
120(B) of I.P.C.  and  Sections  3,4,5  of  Explosives  Substances  Act  and
Sections 3 and 5 of Tada Act are required to be added.   Hence  sanction  to
add Sections of Tada may be given.

Yours faithfully,

(P.C.Pande)
Police Commissioner
Surat City”

12.   Approval dated 12-05-1995 granted by the Additional  Chief  Secretary,
Home Department was pursuant  to  the  above  request  communicated  to  the
Police Commissioner, Surat City in the following words:

“To
Police Commissioner
Surat City,
Surat

Subject: Varacha P.St.I.O.Reg.No.32/93 Sanction of Tada

Sir,

This is to inform you with respect  to  above  subject  regarding  your  fax
message No. RB/100/1995  dt.  8.5.95  in  the  case  registered  at  Varacha
P.St.(First) O.Reg. No.32/93:-

Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department has given sanction to apply  the
Sections of Tada.

Yours faithfully,
Sd/- Illegible
(R.B.Thakkar)
Section Officer
Home Department (Special)”



13.   Insofar as the second blast that took place  on  Platform  No.1  Surat
Railway Station on 22nd  April,  1993  is  concerned,  C.R.  No.70  of  1993
registered in connection therewith was not only under the provisions of  the
IPC and the Explosives Substances Act but also under Sections  3  and  7  of
TADA. The TADA provisions were, however, subsequently removed in  this  case
also pursuant to the decision taken by the Government on the  basis  of  the
TADA Review Committee’s recommendations and the deletion  intimated  to  the
competent Court at Surat. On 12th April, 1995,  however,  Additional  Police
Commissioner Range 2, Surat City approved the  re-introduction  of  Sections
3(1), 3 (2), 3(3), 3(4) and 5 of TADA Act to C.R. No.70 of  1993  registered
in connection with the said blast. The addition was accordingly made by  the
investigating officer and intimated to the designated Judge appointed  under
the TADA.  This is evident from  the  following  passage  appearing  in  the
letter dated 13th April, 1995 addressed by the investigating officer to  the
designated Court:

“ K.C. Parmar, P.S.I. of Action Group hereby reports that:-

Section 3(1)(2)(3)(4) and Section 5 of TADA Act have  been  added  in  Surat
Railway P.St. O.Reg. No. I 70/93 u/sec 307, 326, 324, 427, 120B of  IPC  and
U/sec 3,5,7 of Explosive Substances Act.  According to  the  new  provisions
of TADA Act, sanction of Additional Police Commissioner Range-2  Surat  City
has been obtained which is enclosed herewith the case papers.

Hence this is to inform you that Sections 3(1)(2)(3)(4)  and  Section  5  of
TADA Act have been added in this offence which please note.

                Date: 14.4.95                            Sd/ - Illegible
                                                                (K.C.Parmar)
                                                               P.S.Inspector
                                                   Action Group, Surat City”


14.   What is interesting is that even after  the  provisions  of  TADA  had
already  been  introduced  with  the  approval  of  the  Additional   Police
Commissioner, Range 2, Surat City,  the  Government  appears  to  have  been
approached for grant of approval for introduction of the TADA in C.R.  No.70
of 1993 which approval was granted by the Additional Chief  Secretary,  Home
Department and conveyed to the designated  court  by  the  Assistant  Police
Commissioner, G Division, Surat City in terms of his letter dated 12th  May,
1995. The relevant portion  of  the  letter  conveys  the  Additional  Chief
Secretary, Home Department’s approval for  introduction  of  the  TADA.   It
reads as under:

“K.K. Chudasma (I.O) Assistant Police Commissioner Surat City  “G”  Division
reports that:-

Sanction of Additional Chief Secretary Home  Department  has  been  received
vide Fax Message No./ V2/ATK/2893/2768 Home Department, Block  No.2,  Sardar
Bhavan, Sachivalaya, Gandhinagar dt. 15.4.95  has  been  received  with  the
signature of Section Officer Home Department (Special)  for  application  of
Sections of TADA Act in Surat Railway  Police  Station  I.O.  Reg.  No.70/93
registered u/sec 307, 326, 324, 427, 120(B) of IPC and u/sec.  3,  4,  5  of
Explosive Substances Act.  Sanction letter Fax  message  is  enclosed  along
with the case papers which please note.

Date:12.5.95                      Sd/Illegible

Received Copy                     (K.K. Chaudasma)

Sd/- Illegible               Assistant Police Commissioner

Jr. Clerk                    G. Division, Surat City”



15.   It is in the light of the above evident  that  in  C.R.No.32  of  1993
approval for recording  of  information  regarding  commission  of  offences
under the TADA came directly from the Home Department of the  Government  of
Gujarat.  In C.R. No.70 of 1993 relating  to  the  second  blast  that  took
place at Surat Railway Station, the  State  Government  and  the  Additional
Police Commissioner, Surat city approved the application of  the  provisions
of TADA.

16.   What falls for determination is whether these approvals  can  be  said
to be sufficient compliance with the provisions  of  Section  20-A  of  TADA
that reads as under:-

“20-A  Cognizance of offence.

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code,  no  information  about  the
commission of an offence under this Act shall  be  recorded  by  the  police
without the prior approval of the District Superintendent of Police.

No court shall take cognizance of any offence under  this  Act  without  the
previous sanction of the Inspector-General of Police, or  as  the  case  may
be, the Commissioner of Police.”



17.   A careful reading of the above leaves no  manner  of  doubt  that  the
provision starts with a non obstante  clause  and  is  couched  in  negative
phraseology. It forbids recording of information  about  the  commission  of
offences under TADA  by  the  Police  without  the  prior  approval  of  the
District Superintendent of Police.  The question is  whether  the  power  of
approval vested in the District Superintendent of Police could be  exercised
by either the Government or the Additional  Police  Commissioner,  Surat  in
the instant case.  Our answer to that question  is  in  the  negative.   The
reasons are not far to seek.  We say so firstly because  the  statute  vests
the grant approval in an authority specifically designated for the  purpose.
 That being so, no one except the  authority  so  designated,  can  exercise
that power.  Permitting  exercise  of  the  power  by  any  other  authority
whether superior or inferior to the  authority  designated  by  the  Statute
will  have  the  effect  of  re-writing  the  provision  and  defeating  the
legislature  purpose  behind  the  same  -   a  course   that   is   legally
impermissible. In Joint Action Committee of Air Line Pilots’ Association  of
India (ALPAI) and Ors. V.  Director  General  of  Civil  Aviation  and  Ors.
(2011) 5 SCC 435, this Court declared  that  even  senior  officials  cannot
provide any guidelines or direction to the authority under  the  statute  to
act in a particular manner.

18.   Secondly, because  exercise  of  the  power  vested  in  the  District
Superintendent of Police under Section 20-A (1)  would  involve  application
of mind by the officer concerned to the material placed before  him  on  the
basis whereof,  alone  a  decision  whether  or  not  information  regarding
commission of an offence  under  TADA  should  be  recorded  can  be  taken.
Exercise of the power granting or refusing approval under Section  20-A  (1)
in its very nature casts a duty upon the officer concerned to  evaluate  the
information and determine  having  regard  to  all  attendant  circumstances
whether or not a case for invoking the  provisions  of  TADA  is  made  out.
Exercise of that power by anyone other than the  designated  authority  viz.
the District Superintendent of Police would amount to such  other  authority
clutching at the jurisdiction of the  designated  officer,  no  matter  such
officer or authority purporting to exercise that power is superior  in  rank
and position to the officer authorised by law to take the decision.

19.   Thirdly, because if the Statute provides for a thing to be done  in  a
particular manner, then it must be done in  that  manner  alone.  All  other
modes  or  methods  of  doing  that  thing  must  be  deemed  to  have  been
prohibited. That proposition of law first was stated  in  Taylor  v.  Taylor
(1876) 1 Ch. D426 and adopted later  by  the  Judicial  Committee  in  Nazir
Ahmed v. King Emperor AIR 1936 PC 253 and by  this  Court  in  a  series  of
judgments including those in Rao Shiv Bahadur  Singh  &  Anr.  v.  State  of
Vindhya Pradesh AIR 1954 SC 322, State of Uttar Pradesh  v.  Singhara  Singh
and Ors. AIR 1964 SC 358, Chandra Kishore Jha v. Mahavir Prasad & Ors.  1999
(8) SC 266, Dhananjaya Reddy v. State  of  Karnataka  2001  (4)  SCC  9  and
Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. V. Essar Power Ltld. 2008  (4)  SCC  755.  The
principle stated in the above decisions applies to the  cases  at  hand  not
because there is any specific procedure that is prescribed  by  the  Statute
for grant of approval but because  if  the  approval  could  be  granted  by
anyone in the police hierarchy the provision specifying  the  authority  for
grant of such approval might as well not have been enacted.

20.   In Anirudhsinhji & Anr. v.  State of Gujarat (1995) 5 SCC  302  relied
upon by Mr. Sushil Kumar, this Court  was  dealing  with  a  fact  situation
where a case was registered initially under  the  Arms  Act.   The  District
Superintendent of Police  had  instead  of  giving  approval  for  recording
information himself made a report to the Additional Chief  Secretary  asking
for permission to proceed under  TADA.   The  Deputy  Director  General  and
Additional Director General of Police also sent fax messages  to  the  Chief
Secretary requesting him to grant permission to proceed under TADA.  It  was
on that basis that the Additional  Chief  Secretary,  Home  Department  gave
sanction/consent to proceed under the provisions of TADA. The question  that
fell for consideration before this Court was whether Section  20-A  (1)  was
violated and, if so, whether the prosecution of the  accused  in  that  case
was legally valid. Repelling the contention  that  the  approval  was  valid
this Court observed:


“11. The case against the appellants originally was registered on  19-3-1995
under the Arms Act. The DSP did not give any prior approval on  his  own  to
record any information about the commission of an  offence  under  TADA.  On
the contrary, he made a report to the Additional Chief Secretary  and  asked
for permission to proceed under TADA. Why? Was it because he  was  reluctant
to exercise jurisdiction vested in him by the provision of Section  20-A(1)?
This is a case of power conferred upon one authority being really  exercised
by another. If a statutory authority has been vested with  jurisdiction,  he
has to exercise it according to its own discretion.  If  the  discretion  is
exercised under the direction or in compliance with some higher  authority’s
instruction, then it will be  a  case  of  failure  to  exercise  discretion
altogether. In other words, the discretion vested in the DSP  in  this  case
by Section 20-A(1) was not exercised by the DSP at all.”



21.   This Court relied upon the  decision  in  Commissioner  of  Police  v.
Gordhandas Bhanji AIR 1952 SC 16 where the Commissioner  of  Police  had  at
the behest of the State Government  cancelled  the  permission  granted  for
construction of a cinema  in  Greater  Bombay.   The  order  passed  by  the
Commissioner was quashed on the ground that the  authorities  concerned  had
vested the power to cancel in  the  Commissioner  alone  who  was  bound  to
exercise the  same  himself  and  bring  to  bear  on  the  matter  his  own
independent and unfettered judgment instead of acting at  the  instance  of,
any other party.  This  Court  borrowed  support  for  that  view  from  the
following passage by Wade and Forsyth in ‘Administrative Law’,  7th  Edition
Page Nos.358-359 under the heading ‘SURRENDER ABDICTION, DICTATION’ and sub-
heading ‘power in the wrong hands’:

“Closely akin to delegation, and scarcely distinguishable from  it  in  some
cases, is any arrangement by which a power conferred upon one  authority  is
in substance exercised by another.   The  proper  authority  may  share  its
power with some one else, or may allow some one else to  dictate  to  it  by
declining to act without their consent or by submitting to their  wishes  or
instructions.   The  effect  then  is  that  the  discretion  conferred   by
Parliament is exercised, at least in part, by the wrong authority,  and  the
resulting decision is ultra vires and void.  So strict  are  the  courts  in
applying this principle that they condemn some  administrative  arrangements
which must seem quite natural and proper to those who make them....

Ministers and their departments have several times fallen foul of  the  same
rule, no doubt equally to their surprise...”



22.     Anirudhsinhji (supra) was followed in Manohar Lall  (dead)  by  Lrs.
V. Ugrasen (dead) by Lrs. and Ors.  (2010) 11 SCC  557  where  the  question
that fell for consideration was whether  the  State  Government,  exercising
revisional power under U.P. Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973,  could
take up the task of a lower  statutory  authority.  Relying  upon  the  view
taken in Anirudhsinhji case (supra) this Court observed:

“23. Therefore, the law on the question can  be  summarised  to  the  effect
that no higher authority in the hierarchy  or  an  appellate  or  revisional
authority can exercise the power of the  statutory  authority  nor  can  the
superior authority mortgage its wisdom and direct  the  statutory  authority
to act in a particular manner. If  the  appellate  or  revisional  authority
takes upon itself the task of the statutory authority and passes  an  order,
it remains unenforceable for the reason that it cannot be termed  to  be  an
order passed under the Act.”


23.   That Section 20-A (1) is mandatory  is  also  no  longer  res  integra
having been settled by this Court in Rangku Dutta @ Ranjan  Kumar  Dutta  v.
State of Assam (2011) 6 SCC 358. This Court in that  case  held  that  since
the provision was couched in  negative  terms,  the  same  is  mandatory  in
nature no matter the statute does not provide any penalty for  disobedience.
 This Court observed:

“18. It is obvious that Section 20-A(1) is a mandatory requirement  of  law.
First, it starts with an overriding clause  and,  thereafter,  to  emphasise
its mandatory nature, it uses  the  expression  “No”  after  the  overriding
clause. Whenever the intent of a statute is mandatory, it is clothed with  a
negative command. Reference in this connection can be made to  G.P.  Singh’s
Principles of Statutory Interpretation, 12th Edn.”


24.   Relying upon Ahmad Umar Saeed Sheikh v. State of U.P.  (1996)  11  SCC
61, this Court has in Ashrafkhan @ Babu Munnekhan Pathan and Anr.  v.  State
of Maharashtra (2012) 11 SCC 606 not only held that the  approval  given  by
the Chief Secretary (Home Department) of the  State  Government  was  not  a
sufficient compliance with Section 20-A (1) but  also  that  the  difficulty
arising out of it was not curable under Section 465 of the Code. This  Court
observed:

“34. ……… Section 465 of the Code, which falls in Chapter  35,  covers  cases
triable by a Court of Session also. Hence, the prosecution can take  shelter
behind Section 465 of the Code. But Section 465 of the Code shall not  be  a
panacea for all error, omission or irregularity.  Omission  to  grant  prior
approval for registration of the case under TADA by  the  Superintendent  of
Police is not the kind of omission which is covered  under  Section  465  of
the Code. It is a defect which goes to the root of the matter and it is  not
one of the curable defects.”


25.   This Court also rejected the argument that grant of sanction in  terms
of Section 20-A(2) of the Act rendered the infirmity in the  approval  under
Section 20-A(1) inconsequential. This Court held  that  the  two  provisions
operate in different and distinct stages  and  that  both  the  requirements
have to be  complied  with  for  a  successful  prosecution.  The  following
passage is in this regard apposite:


“37. ……. Both operate in different and distinct stages and,  therefore,  for
successful prosecution both the requirements have to be  complied  with.  We
have not come across any principle nor are we inclined to lay down  that  in
a case in  which  different  safeguards  have  been  provided  at  different
stages, the adherence to the last  safeguard  would  only  be  relevant  and
breach of other safeguards shall have no bearing on  the  trial.  Therefore,
we reject the contention of the State that the accused cannot  assail  their
conviction on the ground of absence of approval  under  Section  20-A(1)  of
TADA by the  Deputy  Commissioner,  when  the  Commissioner  of  Police  had
granted sanction under Section 20-A(2) of TADA.”


26.   In two subsequent decisions rendered by this Court in Mohd.  Iqbal  M.
Shaikh & Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra (1998) 4 SCC 494 and Manjit  Singh
@ Mange CBI, through its SP: (2011) 11 SCC 578 a slightly liberal  view  has
been taken but having regard to the fact that Anirudhsinhji’s  case  (supra)
was decided by a three-Judge  Bench  of  this  Court,  we  do  not  see  any
compelling reason to depart from the ratio of that decision especially  when
the view taken in that decision proceeds on sound  and  well  settled  legal
principles to which we have briefly adverted in the  earlier  part  of  this
judgment.

27.    The  upshot  of  the  above  discussion,  therefore,  is   that   the
requirement of a mandatory statutory provision  having  been  violated,  the
trial and conviction of the petitioners for offences under the TADA must  be
held to have been vitiated on that account.  The  argument  that  the  first
information report regarding the two incidents had  been  registered  before
the introduction of Section 20-A (1) in the statute book making approval  of
the competent authority unnecessary has not impressed us. It  is  true  that
the two incidents had taken place and cases registered  regarding  the  same
under TADA before Section 20-A (1) came on the statute book,  but  the  fact
remains that the provisions of TADA were removed from the  reports  pursuant
to the recommendations of the Review Committee. By the time  fresh  evidence
came to light  requiring  re-introduction  of  the  provisions  of  the  Act
approval for recording information regarding commission  of  offences  under
TADA, had become necessary. The  fact  that  such  approval  was  considered
necessary even by the investigating agency and was prayed  for,  only  shows
that  the  authorities  were  aware  of  the  requirement  of  law  and  had
consciously attempted to comply with  the  said  requirement  no  matter  by
applying for such approval to an authority not competent to grant the same.

28.   Mr. Yashank Adhyaru next argued that even if the  provisions  of  TADA
were not available  against  the  appellants  the  prosecution  could  still
succeed in sustaining the conviction of the appellants  under  IPC  and  the
Explosive Substances Act.  That  would  indeed  be  so,  provided  there  is
enough evidence on record to support that course  of  action.   When  called
upon to show evidence  that  could  warrant  conviction  of  the  appellants
independent of provisions of TADA and the  confessional  statements  of  the
accused allegedly recorded under the said provisions,  Mr.  Yashank  Adhyaru
fairly conceded that while there may be evidence regarding recovery of  some
of the weapons the same would not by itself be  sufficient  to  justify  the
conviction of the appellants. Even otherwise the recovery of the weapons  is
also not satisfactorily proved by cogent and reliable evidence.  Such  being
the position, we have no manner of doubt left that  the  conviction  of  the
appellants cannot be sustained.

29.   We accordingly allow Criminal Appeals No.92 of 2009, 110 of  2009  and
658-659 of 2009 and set aside the orders of conviction  passed  against  the
appellants who shall be released from custody forthwith unless  required  in
any other case. Criminal Appeals No.303-304 of 2009, 305 of  2009  and  432-
433 of 2009 filed by the State of Gujarat shall, however,  stand  dismissed.






                                                  ……………………………………….……….…..…J.
                                                               (T.S. THAKUR)





                                                 …………………………..…………………..…..…J.
New Delhi                                            (C. NAGAPPAN)
July 18, 2014

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