The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the kin of a Malegaon Blast victim seeking speedy trial of the case to move the Bombay High Court, for purposes of extending the tenure of the Trial Judge who is hearing the case.
The Ld. Presiding Officer of the Special NIA Court at Mumbai, namely Shri Padalkar who has been trying the case was set to retire on account of superannuation on February 29, 2020.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy gave liberty to the father of the victim to move the learned Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Bombay with the instant plea and stated that the learned Chief Justice may take an appropriate decision in this regard.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by 60-year-old resident of Malegaon, Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal who lost his son Sayyed Azhar Nisar Ahmed in the explosion that took place on Bhikku Chowk, Malegaon on September 29, 2008.
The plea contends that a delay in trial of the case is antithetical to Article 21 of the Constitution.
"For that due to delay in conclusion of the trial, the fundamental right of the Petitioner and other victims has been violated. Under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Petitioner is entitled to speedy trial of offences, especially when the son of the Petitioner lost his life in the said blasts", the Petition averrred.
In light of the above, the Petition states that even though the mishap occurred on 29.09.2008, it has already been 12 years since the trial has been going on and replacing the Judge (who will take further time to familiarize with the voluminous records of the case) shall further perpetuate delay.
"He has been able to examine 140 witnesses in the last 1 year and 4 months. Any new incumbent who has posted would take further time to come to grips of the record of the case which runs into thousands and thousands of pages. It is submitted that the Ld. Presiding Officer is conversant with the record and it would be in the interests of justice if the term of the Ld. Presiding Officer is extended so that the trial could be completed which is pending for the last 12 years. It is after long delay of 10 years that charges were framed", an extract of the plea read.
The Petitioner had previously made a representation to the Hon'ble Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on February 1, 2020 requesting for extension of the tenure of the Presiding Officer. However, no directions were passed in that regard.
On February 26, the Bombay High Court pulled up the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for lack of effective progress in the Malegaon blast case trial.
Subsequently, on February 27, BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, who is one of the prime accused in the Malegaon blast case, appeared before the special court in Mumbai in connection with the case.
Seven persons, including Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit, are facing trial in the case.
The 2006 Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place in September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Nashik district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, 290 km northeast of Mumbai. Six people were killed and over 100 were injured.
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