14 May 2023 3:55 AM GMT
The Punjab & Haryana High Court has issued a notice to government of Punjab and Haryana on a petition seeking formulation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for regulating the total period of custody undergone by a person detained in multiple cases. The petitioner argues that reading the custody period of all cases jointly would amount to violation of the right to speedy trial...
The Punjab & Haryana High Court has issued a notice to government of Punjab and Haryana on a petition seeking formulation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for regulating the total period of custody undergone by a person detained in multiple cases. The petitioner argues that reading the custody period of all cases jointly would amount to violation of the right to speedy trial under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner is allegedly involved in 127 cases, out of which the petitioner is facing trial in 42 cases, convicted in 56 cases, and acquitted in 30 cases. He has been in judicial custody for 8 years and is being deprived of the fundamental right to a speedy trial, the plea alleges.
Contending that the period of under-trial custody has to be counted from the day an accused is produced before the court and it is liable to set-off against the conviction as per Section 428 of CrPC, the petitioner has argued that if the period undergone by him is not set-off against the term of imprisonment on him he will remain in jail despite completion of his sentence.
The petition highlights that to count the custody period of an accused, the high court's 2016 decision in Tejinder Singh @Teja & Another v. State of Punjab & ors is being followed by State wherein it was held, “when a person in under-trial detention in one case is convicted and sentenced in another case, his detention in the first case ceases and the clock stops till such time as he is released in the second case and his period of under-trial detention in the first case would again start only after he is released in the second case”.
The petition argues that Tejinder Singh is per incuriam and against the Apex’s court judgement of State of Maharashtra v. Najakat Ali Mubarak Ali wherein it was held that, “If an accused is simultaneously arrested detained in two or more cases and on conviction obtains set-off for the period of his detention in the first case he is not ineligible to obtain set-off for the period in the subsequent cases.”
“In each case the court is to count the number of days the accused was in such detention separately and the liability to undergo imprisonment on conviction should be restricted to the remainder of the terms of the imprisonment imposed on him in that case,” the court held in Najakat Ali Mubarak Ali.
The petition also seeks issuance of directions to the official respondents to produce the petitioner before the concerned magistrates. Despite the issuance of production warrants by the court, the respondents have been acting negligently, resulting in the trial being left in abeyance, the plea alleges
Case Title: Bhupinder Kumar Gupta v. State of Punjab & Ors.
Counsel for petitioner: Pratham Sethi, Kanishk Sarup, Tejaswini
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