Mumbai train blast convict plea in HC seeks prosecution

Mumbai train blast convict plea in HC seeks prosecution

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a plea moved by a convict in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings case, challenging a CIC order denying his request for documents related to a 2007 notification empowering the secretaries of state governments to sanction prosecution for offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and sought its stand on the petition filed by Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddique, who was sentenced to death for his role in the serial blasts that claimed 189 lives.

On July 11, 2006, seven RDX explosions ripped through as many Western line local trains in Mumbai, leading to the death of 189 people and injuring 829.

Siddique, in his plea moved through advocate Arpit Bhargava, has contended that he was arrested in 2006 and the sanction for his prosecution was granted by the Maharashtra additional chief secretary in January 2007, six months before the notification was issued.

Therefore, the sanction granted was null and void for want of authorisation on the date it was issued, Siddique, who is on death row at the Nagpur Central Jail, has contended in his petition.

He has claimed in his plea that the "proposal and all other documents of respondent (MHA)/department's file related to the issue of notification dated June 21, 2007" will help to show that the sanction for his prosecution was granted wrongly.

Siddique has said in his plea that he had requested for the information in 2017 through an RTI application to the MHA, which had denied to provide it.

Thereafter, his appeal against the MHA decision was rejected on June 13, 2019 by the Central Information Commission (CIC), which said the information sought pertained to the security and sovereignty of the country and was, therefore, exempt from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

During the arguments, the central government told the court that the information sought pertained to the security, sovereignty and integrity of India and therefore, it could not be disclosed.

However, the court did not accept the argument, saying "that is a general sweeping statement".

Siddique has claimed that he was falsely implicated in the blasts case and therefore, it amounts to violation of his human rights. 

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