The Supreme Court on Friday rapped a local Court in Madhya Pradesh for its failure to complete trial in a rape case, despite explicit orders to do so within six months.
The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna rejected the explanation rendered by the Trial Court with regard to hearing of only urgent cases amid the Covid crisis and sternly remarked that all concerned are expected to comply with the Top Court's orders in its letter and spirit, without any demur.
The trial Court had submitted that the delay in concluding the trial was due to the guidelines issued by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, requiring all Courts in the state to take up only urgent cases.
Finding this reason to be 'unacceptable', the bench proceeded to observe,
"General guidelines issued by the High Court cannot override the direction(s) given by this Court on the judicial side in the given case, which the concerned Court(s) and all concerned are expected to comply with without any demur in its letter and spirit, unless relaxed by this Court."
The case at hand pertains to one Ankit Maheshwari, accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 15-yr-old. In December last year, the accused had approached the Top Court against an order of the MP High Court rejecting his bail plea.
Though the Top Court had refused to interfere with the said order, it had directed the trial Court to conclude the trial within six months. Significantly, the December order was passed by Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, both part of the present bench.
Now the Court has direct the concerned local Court to ensure that the trial in this case is concluded not later than end of December, 2020. A compliance report to this effect has to be submitted in the SC Registry by the end of the year.
Further, the SC Registry has been asked to forward this order to the High Court for necessary action and for issuing appropriate clarification/directions to the subordinate Courts.
Case Title: Ankit Maheshwari Alias Chintoo v. State of MP & Ors.
Case No.: SLP (Crl.) No.11315/2019
Quorum: Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna
Click Here To Download Order