The lawyer for the late Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case who died earlier this month, sought the Bombay High Court on Friday to utilise its “parens-patriae” power to oversee the magisterial inquiry into his death.
Although the campaigner was deceased and there was no chance of him being granted release again, senior attorney Mihir Desai, who represented Swamy before the high court, claimed the high court did not need to consider the late priest’s applications seeking bail abated.
The appeals filed by the late Father Stan contesting the Special NIA Court’s rejection of bail were heard by a Division Bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamdar.
Advocate Desai petitioned the high court to allow Swamy’s aide, Frazer Mascarenhas, to join in the investigation into Swamy’s death that is required under section 176 of the CrPC.
He asked the court to order that the investigation be done in accordance with the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) norms, as well as to order the magistrate to send a copy of the investigation report to the high court for monitoring.
“We have a unique scenario here because the appellant passed away while the appeals were underway. The HC, on the other hand, has broad powers, “Desai explained.
He went on to say that the “parens patriae” principle was applied in the Aruna Shanbaug case, and that “the High Courts are recognised to be the parens patriae (parents) of the people within the jurisdiction.” In dealing with the appeals in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, the Supreme Court even ruled the state to be so.”
“We’re well aware of our supervisory authority. There is a decision that says in such circumstances, a liberal approach is required, “stated Bench, who then directed Advocate Desai to serve them with a copy of the decision. The bench was informed by the State’s Chief Prosecutor that no magistrate had yet been appointed to handle the inquiry, but that a post mortem had been performed with proper videography.
The Court had previously instructed the National Investigation Agency and the State to determine whether an investigation had been assigned to any Judicial Magistrate into the rejection of the late Stan Swamy’s bail request for the Bhima Koregaon Violence under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The subject will be discussed again on August 4th.