With many citizens claiming the Right to Freedom of Speech and circulating hate speeches on social media, the Supreme Court, in a recent hearing, ruled that the fundamental rights can be practised if the person is abiding by law and order.
MCOCA Threatens Fundamental Rights, Claims Accused
An accused challenged the invocation of the Anti-gangster rule law, Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA). Following the hearing, a bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose last week ruled that the shield of fundamental rights can only be used by the people who adhere to the law and order of the nation.
Even though the ruling was specific to the case, the general nature of the ruling of the Supreme Court has a more significant impact on a considerable number of cases. The accused had pleaded that MCOCA would severely impact his fundamental rights.
Writing the judgement, Justice Maheshwari said that regarding the implication of MCOCA, they are clearly stating that any person who is declared as an absconder and remains out of reach stands "directly at conflict with law", quoted Times of India.
No Benefit From Section 438 Crpc For Proclaimed Absconder
The bench further clarified that an ordinary accused has the right to benefit from Section 438 crpc seeking anticipatory bail. However, if they have been proclaimed an absconder, "there is no question of giving him the benefit of Section 438 crpc."
The bench, in conclusion, said, "any claim towards fundamental rights also cannot be justifiably made without the person concerned himself adhering to and submitting to the process of law."
The accused was challenging the order of Nagpur bench, Bombay High Court upholding the Nagpur City additional director general of police to invoke provisions of MCOCA against him and others. The police accused them of indulging in violence, threatening people for monetary gains, and establishing supremacy in the crime world.
What Is MCOCA?
MCOCA is an act introduced to deal with organized crime activities within Maharashtra. It gives the state government special powers to deal with crimes including contract killings, extortion, smuggling in contrabands, illegal trade in drugs, ransom kidnaps, money laundering, terrorism etc.