7 Dec 2022 8:29 AM GMT
Observing that delay in the trial results in loss of not only the public time but the Court's time as well, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the DGPs of the State of Punjab, Haryana, and UT Chandigarh to file affidavits (within 4 weeks) indicating the steps taken by them with regard to the following:- To expedite the investigation process including the inclusion of...
Observing that delay in the trial results in loss of not only the public time but the Court's time as well, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the DGPs of the State of Punjab, Haryana, and UT Chandigarh to file affidavits (within 4 weeks) indicating the steps taken by them with regard to the following:
- To expedite the investigation process including the inclusion of scientific methods,
- To expedite the trial, and
- Ensuring the appearance of not only the official witnesses but other prosecution witnesses as well.
The Court also observed that delay in trial gives an opportunity to the accused to win over the witnesses at times and many a times, even the accused suffers because of delay as he continues to be having that stigma of an accused in the process till the final order is passed by the Court, either convicting or acquitting him
The bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Vikram Aggarwal made this observation and sought the affidavits of the DGPs while dealing with the suo motu case initiated by the high court in 2021 on the basis of a Supreme Court order directing each high court in the country to monitor the progress of cases pending against the lawmakers.
Essentially, during the case hearing on Tuesday, the Court perused the status reports of cases pending against Lawmakers filed by the CBI, the State of Haryana, the State of Punjab, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
Finding the status reports to be 'not up to the expectation', the Court observed that the intent and purpose for which the monitoring is being carried out by the Court is not only lacking but missing. Stressing that something needs to be done as far as the investigation of the matters is concerned, the Court called upon the DGPs to file their affidavits.
Though the Court did not refer to any specific case in its order, however, it did add that a lot was required to be done to ensure that the investigation in the cases is done expeditiously and the progress of the trial is up to the mark.
In this regard, the Court importantly observed that the work of the prosecution doesn't end with the completion of the investigation, but it extends to ensuring the witnesses appear before the Court, as the non-appearance of the witnesses contributes a lot to delay in trials.
"After the completion of the investigation, it appears that the prosecution virtually is shaking off its hands as the focus on the status reports appears to be limited up to the extent of completion of the investigation, but that should not be the purpose, for which when the investigation is completed, should be left to the Courts to proceed with the matter. No doubt, after that the proceedings are monitored and conducted by the Court but the non-appearance of the witnesses has been pointed out and observed to be a major course of delay in the trial. We would expect that the Director General of Police and Heads of the Departments of the Investigating Agencies give equal thought and importance to the trial as well."
With this, the Court posted the matter for further hearing on January 19, 2023.
Case title - Court On Its Own Motion vs State Of Punjab And Ors
Click Here To Read/Download Order