Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cases against netas seldom probed properly, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has moved to plug loopholes in the judicial administration system that are exploited to undermine probe into criminal cases involving important political figures and inordinately delay their trial.

Terming the problem a 'grave and serious' danger to justice delivery system, the apex court has sought a report from the Law Commission on the issue.

The initiative came in response to a PIL filed recently by V K Ohri which stated that criminal cases against influential persons seldom got properly investigated and tried fairly, expeditiously and in accordance with law.

"As a result, influential people/accused having committed heinous offences are not brought to book and are mostly able to escape. This results, on many occasions, into grave miscarriage of justice and erodes the credibility of the criminal justice system," Ohri's counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court.

A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said, "The problem identified in the writ petition is indeed grave and requires serious consideration. However, the court finds it difficult to deal with the issue in a meaningful way in the absence of necessary data and all the facts and figures relevant to the issue."

It added, "In these circumstances, apart from expecting a serious assistance from the side of the Union of India, we would like the Law Commission of India to examine the matter and submit its report with a view to assist the court."

The court requested the commission to consider the issue and submit a detailed report by end of August, when Ohri's petition would be taken up for hearing afresh. The commission headed by Justice P V Reddy discussed the issue last week and kept it for further deliberation next month.

The petitioner had cited the case of Shibu Soren, alleging that despite being declared proclaimed offender in a case, he was able to avoid arrest allegedly in connivance with police, and attended Parliament, election meetings and became a minister at the Centre.

"Similar is the fate of thousands of cases against influential persons who have committed gruesome crimes against common man and have gone scot free due to delay in process manipulated by them because of their influence," the petitioner said.

The outcome of the case could affect the proceedings of the 2G scam trial in which former telecom minister A Raja, MP Kanimozhi and corporate biggies are made accused after the CBI filed a chargesheet alleging that the nation was cheated of Rs 22,000 crore because of irregular allotment of spectrum.

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