Criminal charges brought against BMC Commissioner Chahal stayed by the HC

by Web Desk | Published: 18 Nov 2022

BMC Elections 2022
Iqbal Chahal, the Commissioner of the BMC, was relieved when the Bombay High Court on Friday decided to halt the criminal case that had been filed against him by a city magistrate, noting that there had been no prima facie evidence of the alleged offense. The procedure was announced by Mulund Magistrate at the beginning of this month in response to a complaint made by one Ambar Koiri, who claimed that the BMC commissioner had issued orders during the Covid-19 pandemic that discriminated against citizens who had received vaccinations versus those who had not.
In accordance with pertinent provisions of the Disaster Management Act, processes were also issued against former Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and former Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani. "Even if the averments in the case are regarded at its face value, they do not constitute any offence," Justice Amit Borkar stated in his order to postpone the proceedings. The relief has been granted up until the plea's final hearing.
Nilesh Ojha, the attorney for Mr. Koiri, opposed the petition, arguing that the criminal procedure code provided an alternative remedy. Ashok Mundargi and Joel Carlos, the attorneys for Chahal, contended that the court had the authority to consider the petition and offer relief in the event of unusual circumstances.
The case claims that the state of Maharashtra had placed restrictions on people's ability to move around in trains, malls, gyms, and other sporting venues notwithstanding a directive from the federal government's Home Secretary that no restrictions would be placed on interstate mobility of people.
Thus, a claim of offence was made against Chahal and others. The essential element that would constitute an office, according to justice Borkar, is not established when the complaint's prima facie allegations are taken into account. The Maharashtra Government also issued the order (of limits) in accordance with the Disaster Management Act.
No evidence is shown against the petitioner that he willfully disregarded any law or harmed anyone, the HC noted after carefully reading the order of process issuance (by the judge). The HC stated: "Whenever the court is of the opinion that continuation of the legal process will violate the rights of citizens, the court is bound to protect the citizens" while staying the magistrate's order against Chahal.

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