The Patna High Court on Wednesday (14th October) directed the transfer of all the Tablighi Jamaat related cases pending in different district courts in the State of Bihar to one particular trial court at Patna.
The petitioner in this matter came before the Court for the following relief:-
"For issuance of an appropriate writ order or direction to the concerned court below to conclude the criminal proceeding, which includes decision over plea bargaining stand taken by the accused, arising of the different P.S. across the states, within the stipulated period of time preferably within one week for those who wish to plea bargain and within eight weeks for those who wish to contest the trial, as observed by Hon'ble Apex Court
At the outset, the learned Advocate General as well as the learned Additional Advocate General brought to the notice of the Court that one I.A. No. 1 of 2020 filed on behalf of the respondent-State.
It was their common submission that let the said I.A. be taken as an application on behalf of the State in the light of the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in writ petitions (Civil No. 600 of 2020).
In fact, the learned Advocate General submitted to the extent that the IA should be treated as a motion made by the learned Advocate General and in such circumstance no formal application is required on behalf of the State.
Judgment of the SC in writ petitions (Civil No. 600 of 2020)
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday (01st September), had allowed the consolidation of multiple FIRs from Bihar against foreign nationals for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities and ordered the transfer of all cases before one court (Judgment Copy).
The Bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna had directed the Patna High Court to identify one specific court within a period of one week where all the matters may be listed for hearing.
The Bench had further stated that the matter be heard on a day to day basis in order to wrap up the trial expeditiously within 8 weeks.
The Court had allowed the application after the Bihar government filed an affidavit expressing no objections to the prayers of the applicants.
Notably, on August 25, the Top Court had sought a response from the State Government in the application filed by 30 foreign nationals who are accused in 6 FIRs and undergoing trial in different courts in Bihar.
In their application, these foreigners had prayed for similar relief of consolidated FIRs and expedited trial, as had been granted by Supreme Court with respect to the 34 petitioners from Delhi.
Patna HC's Direction on 14th October
As agreed at the Bar and submitted by the learned Advocate General as well as the learned Additional Advocate General, the Patna High Court on 14th October directed that I.A. No. 1 of 2020 be taken as a formal application on behalf of the State in the light of the order of the Apex Court.
Further, the Court said,
"As a constitutional Court exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of Indian and looking into the order of the Hon'ble Apex Court, this Court deems it just and proper to direct transfer of all the similar cases pending in different district courts in the State of Bihar to one particular trial court at Patna."
The Court further said,
"Let the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, Patna High Court, Patna exercise his Lordships discretion to allot all these cases to a particular trial court at Patna. Keeping in view the order of the Hon'ble Apex Court, it is desirable that the learned Registrar General of this Court bring this matter to the notice of the Hon'ble the Chief Justice at the earliest opportunity."
Lastly, the Court said that once the particular trial court is assigned to look into all the matters which will be transferred from the different districts, the learned trial court at Patna would be obliged to comply with the order of the Hon'ble Apex Court in it's terms and spirit.
The writ application as well as I.A. No. 1 of 2020 stood disposed of accordingly.