Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Most Important Cases Took Less Than Two Yrs ....?

Indian courts swift with trial in big cases

The much maligned trial courts, widely seen as the main villains delaying justice, have been surprisingly swift in delivering verdicts in most big and famous cases since independence.
Be it the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse or that of PM Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, or terror attacks on Parliament and Mumbai, the trials have been superfast compared to other cases, which have an average litigational life of 15 years. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Godse on January 30, 1948. Godse was immediately arrested. The FIR was lodged at Tughlaq Road police station the same day by Nandlal Mehta, who was an associate of Gandhi and eye-witness to the incident.
But the trial of Godse and his associates could begin in a special court at Red Fort only on May 27, 1948. In less than nine months, the trial was over and the verdict was pronounced on February 10, 1949. Godse got death penalty.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards at her 1, Safdarjung Road residence on October 31, 1984. The trial started on May 10, 1985 after a notification issued by Delhi High Court identifying Patiala House complex as the venue for proceedings. The trial proceeded at a fast pace and the verdict was delivered in less than a year’s time on January 22, 1986.
In terror attack cases too, trial courts have gone through huge volumes of evidence with alacrity and pronounced verdicts earlier than expected. The attack on Parliament took place on December 13, 2001 and the trial commenced in February 2002. But trial court judge S N Dhingra, now an HC judge, pronounced the verdict in less than a year against Mohd Afzal, Shaukat Hussain Guru, S A R Geelani and Afsan Guru on December 16, 2002. In the 26/11 Mumbai attack case, trial judge M L Tahiliyani was appointed to try the case on January 13, 2009. But the trial could begin for all practical purposes after May 6, when the charges were framed. Going by this, even this trial did not last more than a year before the court pronounced its verdict.

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