The Supreme Court in a strongly worded order on Tuesday criticized the Meghalaya government for illegal detention of former Meghalaya police officer, Chamipon R Sangma and ordered for his immediate release.
As per a report published on Bar & Bench on Wednesday stated, “A Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan set aside the order passed by Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) allowing an application made by the prosecution against the release of Sangma.”
Apex Court in its order noted that the application to the Supreme Court, which prayed for rejection of bail application of Sangma was itself defective, as Sangma had never filed any such bail application, the report stated.
As per the report advocates Liz Mathew, Shahrukh Alam and Philip Mathew represented the petitioner while advocates Ranjan Mukherjee, Daniel Stone Lyngdott and Subhro Sanyal appeared for the respondents in the case.
It may be mentioned that Chamipon R Sangma is the Chairman of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), the Commander-in-Chief of which outfit, Sohan D Shira, was gunned down during an encounter in Garo Hills of Meghalaya just ahead of the State went to polls recently. Champion, whose real name is Pakchara R Sangma, did his postgraduation in Philosophy from North Eastern Hills University (NEHU), Shillong. He joined the Meghalaya Police Service as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in 2004. But he remained on probation till 2009 and one day he disappeared. The police later came to know that the cop floated the militant outfit, Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) outfit in 2009.
He was arrested from Mymensingh in Bangladesh in July 2012.
There are a number of criminal cases registered in various police stations against petitioner Champion Sangma and in most of these cases, the militant leader was either acquitted or discharged. As per media reports, in some of the cases which are still pending, the GNLA chief had been granted bail except in Case GR No 72/2011 in which chargesheet (No 11/2012) was filed.
The petitioner had been granted bail in all the cases by the concerned courts and in January this year he was also granted bail in the pending cases against him and so he should have been released from custody.
“The manner in which the respondent proceeded in this matter is clearly impermissible, violative of the rule of law and offends the petitioner’s right under Article 21 of the Constitution as he has been detained in custody by adopting totally faulty and illegal process,” the Bench of the SC stated, adding, “In these circumstances, we allow this writ petition and make the Rule absolute and direct that the petitioner shall be released forthwith.”
However, the Apex Court through its order made it clear that the State shall not be precluded from taking any appropriate legal steps in the FIR/chargesheet against the petitioner, which are permissible in law.