The Supreme Court today took note of "serious lapse" by a lower court judge in not abiding with its 2016 order to conclude trial in a murder case within six months and sought explanation from the judicial officer for frequent adjournments in the matter.
The order was passed by bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi when an application by Special Judge (SC/ST), Deoria, UP, seeking additional time to complete the trial came before the bench. The crime occurred in 2012. In December 2016, a bench headed by Justice Gogoi had dealt with a plea related to the case and had directed the lower court to expedite the trial and conclude it within a period of six months.
The bench observed that as per information obtained by the apex court registry, the dates for hearing in the murder case as given by the judicial officer were "not correct".
"That apart, the information obtained by the registry from the National Judicial Data Grid would go to show that from January 29, 2019, seven adjournments have been granted by the presiding officer on different grounds, details of which are available," said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
"This would prima facie show serious lack of concern on the part of the presiding officer to adhere to the time bound schedule for conclusion of the case that this court had ordered," the bench said.
Besides the judicial officer, the apex court also issued notice to the Registrar General of the Allahabad High Court asking them to explain the "serious lapse" on the part of the trial judge.
"All that we would like to observe at this stage is that we do not understand what kind of inspections the presiding officer had carried out on as many as two occasions, which inhibited him from hearing the case," the bench said.
"We also fail to understand as to how inspite of specific directions of this court to complete the hearing of the case within a time bound manner, the presiding officer has granted as many as three adjournments to the accused," it said.
The bench also noted in its order that these three adjournments were granted after the case was fixed for arguments on January 29, 2019.
It posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.
(With PTI inputs)