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Judiciary

Charge not framed in 1.5 years, Bombay HC demands individual accountability

By Rintu Mariam      14 December, 2023 11:58 AM      0 Comments

MUMBAI: The system must fix an accountability on individuals, rather than talking about the delays in the process on account of huge pendency, the Bombay High Court observed. It was hearing a case where the trial had not progressed in case and the undertrial prisoner had been incarcerated for over 5 years. 

He was arrested under Section 302 of the Indian penal Code (Punishment for murder). Though, the accused could be released on bail, the High Court sought an explanation from the District Judge, Thane as well as the District Judge and Additional Sessions Judge, Belapur for the delay in framing charge. 

“….the system must fix an accountability on individuals, rather than talking about the delays in the process on account of huge pendency. An accused, who is incarcerated as an under-trial prisoner for last five years, definitely deserve an answer.”

On July, 2022, when the matter came up, a suggestion was made to commence and conclude the trial within one year.
However, when the matter came up again before the High Court, the judge was rather astonished that even after six months more than the expiration of the period granted, the charge had not even been framed, let alone the conclusion of trial.

The Court was also told that the sessions trial is now transferred to the Court of District Judge and Additional Sessions Judge, Belapur. The Applicant’s counsel submitted that there is no production of the Applicant before the said Court. 

“With a heavy heart and with great regret, I must note that the judicial system has probably forgotten about this Applicant, as he has not been produced before the Court and despite his arrest some five years back, the Court has not even bothered to frame the charge”, the Court observed. 

This definitely depicts a “sorry state of affairs”, the Court observed while adding that time and again the Apex Court had warned about the right of an accused and specifically right to have speedy trial. Therefore, along with an explanation, the Bench also asked the district judge to inform on how many dates, the accused was not produced before it by December 18.



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