Mumbai: In a significant judgement, Bombay High Court on Friday said that the stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) can be
applied even in cases where a crime syndicate has committed a crime for a motive other than the monetary benefit.
A full bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a reference made by a division bench of High Court, as to whether the words "other advantages" in section 2 (e) of MCOCA mean something other
than the financial gain.
Section 2 (e) defines `organised crime` as any continuing unlawful activity with the objective of gaining pecuniary (monetary) benefits, or gaining undue economic advantage or other advantages for himself or any person or promoting
"We have decided in favour of the state government," the bench said, pronouncing the judgement.
The trigger for referring the matter to a full bench was the special MCOCA court`s order revoking charges under the act against the alleged killers of lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was shot dead here in February 2010.
The crime branch had invoked the MCOCA provisions against
the four accused, but the lower court said that there was no
material to prove that the offence was committed for monetary
benefit, so charges under MCOCA cannot be pressed.
The state government appealed against the order before a
division bench which referred the matter to the full
"The full bench judgement can now be relied upon by the
state government while arguing appeals against revocation of
MCOCA on the ground that there have been no monetary gains...
like (in) the Shahid Azmi murder case. We had pointed out to
the court several instances where the offence would have been
committed for advantages other than the monetary gains, such
as the murder of a witness in a high profile case or a fake
encounter case," additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai
Senior counsel Baba Chitnis, appearing for some of the
accused in Azmi murder case, said his clients would appeal
against the order in the Supreme Court.