Showing posts with label delay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label delay. Show all posts

29 September 2020

Accused can be released on interim bail on the ground of snail speed of the trial

Successive application for bail is permissible under substantial change of circumstances which has direct impact on the earlier decision and not merely cosmetic changes


    This bail application of the petitioner being the sixth one before this Court, it is to be kept in mind the settled principle of law that successive application for grant of bail to an accused is permissible under the changed circumstances which must be substantial one and which has got a direct impact on the earlier decision and not merely cosmetic changes which are of little or no consequence inasmuch as without the change in the circumstances, the subsequent bail application would be deemed to be seeking review of the earlier rejection order which is not permissible under criminal law. Of Course, the principle of res judicata is not applicable while considering the successive bail application but the issues and grounds which have been canvassed earlier would not be ordinarily permitted to be re- agitated. If some important aspects of the case could not be placed earlier inadvertently and the Court feels that such aspects have a direct bearing on the result of the case, in the interest of justice, the Court can consider the same in the subsequent application.[Para No.5]

    ......... While rejecting the last bail application of the petitioner in BLAPL No.1053 of 2019, it has already been held that the detention of the petitioner has virtually become pre-trial punishment to him as the trial has not progressed much in spite of the earlier direction of this Court due to lack of sincere effort of the prosecution and moreover, the petitioner has not contributed to the delay. Though direction was given to the learned trial Court to expedite the trial keeping in view the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. and to take effective step to ensure the attendance of witnesses but it seems that even after the said order was received by the learned trial Court, the learned trial Court has neither followed the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. nor kept in view the observation made by this Court while disposing of the earlier bail application. No special reason has been assigned by the learned trial Court in adjoining the case to long dates. Not a single witness has been examined after 04.01.2020 and the status report makes it clear how difficult it has become to proceed with the trial of the case at present.

    Mr. Panigrahi, leanred Senior Advocate placed the observation made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Ranjan Dwibedi -Vrs.- C.B.I. reported in A.I.R. 2012 S.C. 3217, wherein it is held as follows:-
"19.....However, unintentional and unavoidable delays or administrative factors over which prosecution has no control, such as, over- crowded court dockets, absence of the presiding officers, strike by the lawyers, delay by the superior forum in notifying the designated Judge, (in the present case only), the matter pending before the other forums, including High Courts and Supreme Courts and adjournment of the criminal trial at the instance of the accused, may be a good cause for the failure to complete the trial within a reasonable time. This is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Such delay or delays cannot be violative of accused's right to a speedy trial and needs to be excluded while deciding whether there is unreasonable and unexplained delay..."

    Keeping in view the observation made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid case, if the order sheet of the learned trial Court is perused from 05.09.2019 onwards till the end of December 2019, it cannot be said that the delay which was caused was unavoidable or on account of any administrative factors over which the prosecution has no control. During the said period, the trial court was functioning normally and no adjournment was sought for from the side of the petitioner and therefore, the delay which has been caused by the trial Court even after the receipt of the order this Court on 22.08.2019 passed in BLAPL No.1053 of 2019, in my humble view, is unreasonable and unexplained. Of course after the last two witnesses i.e. P.W.24 and 25 were examined on 4.01.2020, the Presiding Officer was transferred on 10.01.2020 and the new Presiding Officer joined on 23.03.2020 and then the lock-down was imposed in the State since 23.03.2020 which was extended from time to time and during the said period, there was restricted functioning of the Subordinate Courts in the State as per the direction of this Court and no summons were issued to witnesses during the said period and now the letter dated 10.09.2020 of the learned trial Court makes it clear that the normal functioning of the Court has not been restored. Since the learned trial Judge has made it clear in the said letter that he shall make all endeavor to resume the trial by procuring the attendance of the witnesses in the Court, it is expected that the observation made by this Court while disposing of BLAPL No.1053 of 2019 to expedite the trial keeping in view the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. and to take effective step to ensure the attendance of the witnesses shall also be kept in mind. All possible steps shall be taken to proceed with the trial on day-to-day basis. Since the learned trial Court is also dealing with other cases, a particular time slot should be fixed on each date and the mandate of section 309 of Cr.P.C. shall be adhered to. The trial Court shall take all possible steps to stop the dilly- dallying or shilly-shallying attitude adopted either from the side of the prosecution or accused and ensure that the constitutional right of speedy trial of the accused as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is not flouted causing mockery of the trial. It seems unnecessary lengthy cross examination has been made by different set of defence counsel to the witnesses to make it a gallery show, which needs to be regulated by the learned trial Court keeping in view the provisions under sections 146, 148, 150, 151, 152 and 165 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.[Para No.7]

26 September 2020

Delay in filing written statement can not be condoned if defendant found at laxity or gross negligence in filing the same

The Court below was expected to consider the application at Exhibit-32 on the basis of its contents, in the backdrop of the aforesaid facts indicating deliberate delay on the part of the respondent and by applying the position of law as laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and this Court in the context of Order VIII Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, particularly pertaining to the responsibility on the part of the defendant to act in a diligent manner and in any case to explain before the Court with cogent reasons for delay in filing the written statement. A perusal of the impugned order shows that no such effort was made by the Court below and in a cryptic and casual manner the application at Exhibit- 32 stood allowed.[Para No.13]

Delay in filing written statement can not be condoned if defendant found at laxity or gross negligence in filing the same
    The learned counsel for the petitioners is justified in relying upon the judgment of this Court in the case of Parasmal Daulatram Jain Vs. Rameshwar Rathanlal Karwa (supra), wherein this Court has reiterated the position of law concerning the approach to be adopted by the Courts while considering permission to the defendant to file written statement beyond the stipulated period of time. This Court placed reliance on the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, wherein it has been categorically stated that even if the relevant provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in this regard can be said to be directory and not mandatory, the Courts cannot permit laxity or gross negligence on the part of the defendant to be condoned while granting permission to file written statement. In the facts of the present case, this Court is of the opinion that if the impugned order passed by the Court below is upheld, it would amount to giving premium to the respondent, not only for laxity and gross negligence, but to tactics adopted by her to somehow delay the proceedings in the suit for eviction filed by the petitioners. Although, it is expected that Courts decide disputes between parties by giving opportunity to the contesting party to place their respective versions on merits, there are situations where the Courts ought not to show misplaced indulgence to litigants like the respondent herein by adopting a liberal approach.[Para No.14]

04 August 2020

Accused is entitled for benefit of doubt when there is unexplained delay in forwarding seized article to the court

The alleged occurrence was on 15.11.2011. Ext.P8 property list shows that the seized substances were produced in the court only on 19.11.2011. The prosecution has not explained the reason for the delay in producing the seized substances, including the samples, before the court. It is not explained what prevented the detecting officer or the investigating officer to produce the seized articles in the court immediately after the seizure. In view of the unexplained delay in producing the seized articles before the court, tampering with such articles at the police station cannot be ruled out.[Para No.39]
   
    There is also no reliable evidence as to who was having the custody of the seized articles till they were produced in the court and in what condition they were kept in the police station. PW3 has given evidence that the properties might have been kept in the police station during the period between 16.11.2011 to 18.11.2011 and they would have been in the custody of the Station Writer. But, the evidence of PW6 Circle Inspector, who conducted the investigation of the case on the date of occurrence, is that the properties were in the custody of PW3 Sub Inspector till they were produced in the court. He has stated that he had received the properties but he entrusted them with the Sub Inspector himself for producing them before the court.[Para No.40]

Accused is entitled for benefit of doubt when there is unexplained delay in forwarding seized article to the court
    To put it in a nutshell, the unexplained delay in producing the seized substances before the court and absence of evidence as to how and in what condition the seized substances, including the samples, were kept in the police station till the date of their production in the court alongwith the circumstance that there is absence of evidence regarding the nature of the seal used by the detecting officer for sealing the sample packets, create doubt as to whether seizure of the substances was effected from the accused in the manner alleged by the prosecution. The benefit of that doubt shall be given to the accused.[Para No.45]
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