Speedy trial is a fundamental right as enshrined under Article 21 of Constitution of India and the Hon’ble High Court also on its administrative side has issued instructions to the trial courts to try the matters of rapes on speedy basis. However in the present case more than three years had passed since the learned trial court has been entrusted with the file of the case but on one pretense or the other, the Accused were able to move applications for personal exemptions and file numerous applications for revisions, thereby substantially delaying the trial.
The Petitioner had got an FIR registered in the year 2013 under section 376 (Rape). The allegation was that the Accused had befriended her through his cousin sister and had made physical relations with her. Later on both of them made an objectionable MMS video of her and threatened to publish it on the internet. On this threat the Accused was able to continue his abuse until finally the victim decided to register an FIR. The Trial began, but even after prolonged suffering of the Victim she was unable to get justice because of the deliberate delay tactics being used at trial by the accused.
The Petitioner approached the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh to expedite the trial and bring to light the deliberate attempts of the accused to keep on filing various applications either at Trial Court or in the High Court to delay the proceedings initiated against him/her
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FACTS: Petitioner had registered an FIR no. 116 dated 10.10.2013 u/s 376/506/120-B IPC and 25 Arms Act and this petition was filed with the prayer to issue directions to the learned Additional Sessions Judge to ensure framing of charges on the next of hearing and to complete the trial of the case expeditiously preferably within a period of 6 months.
The Hon’ble High Court observed that “This petition has been filed by the petitioner under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for giving directions to the Additional Sessions Judge, Bathinda to expedite the trial.
Giving the sequence, counsel for the petitioner contends that the accused had approached the Court with a petition in 2014 which they had withdrawn but the Co-ordinate Bench while disposing of the case had also given certain directions including exemption to Reetu Setia unless the trial Court required her presence.
The counsel urges that the petitioner as well as the accused had filed two revision petitions challenging the order passed by the Court below which were disposed of vide Annexure A-1 in March 2016 and direction was given to the trial Court to proceed with the trial expeditiously as it had been delayed.
Counsel for the petitioner submits that they have placed on record the zimni orders which show that every attempt is being made by the accused to delay the case and one of the accused failed to appear and without her presence charge could not have been framed and despite the order dated 31.3.2016, they had been moving applications before the Court below for collecting evidence on their behalf and thus stalling the trial.
Counsel for the accused submits that charge has now been framed.
A perusal of the zimni orders show that though the trial Court had noted in the order dated 7.6.2016 that presence of the accused was required for framing of charge but still the accused had not appeared. They had been moving applications for exemption or for giving directions to the prosecution or the investigating officer for collecting evidence which should have been done at the stage of defence. The accused have not allowed the proceedings to start. Charge has now been framed in December 2016.”
Therefore, High Court held that
“It is a fit case where directions need to be given to the trial Court to expedite the trial and complete it within six months from the next date of hearing. The accused would ensure that their counsels are present on each date of hearing and they will not seek adjournments. The petition is disposed of with the above directions.”
Read complete judgment here…