Justice hurried is justice buried, observes HC

Rebukes trial court for examining 22 out of 24 witnesses in a day in a murder case of a 14-year-old boy

March 01, 2018 08:32 am | Updated 08:32 am IST

NEW DELHI, 24/01/2018: A view of Delhi High Court, in New Delhi on January 24, 2018.  
Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

NEW DELHI, 24/01/2018: A view of Delhi High Court, in New Delhi on January 24, 2018. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

‘Justice hurried is justice buried’ the Delhi High Court remarked while censuring a trial court here for hurriedly examining 22 of 24 witnesses in a day in a case of murder of a 14-year-old boy, leading to a questionable judgment convicting two innocent men.

A Bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice I.S. Mehta quashed the trial court’s October 2014 judgment in which it had convicted two men for the crime and sent them to life imprisonment.

The case relates to the murder of a boy at a vacant plot in Ram Garh at Jahangirpuri in Delhi on November 8, 2012.

When the police reached the spot, the deceased’s trousers were found pulled down to the ankles and there were injury marks on his neck and chest.

At the instance of the father of the deceased, the men were apprehended by the police. They were later convicted by the trial court for kidnapping, attempt to sodomise and murder.

Rushed verdict

The Bench questioned as to why the trial court rushed through the prosecution evidence in a case of such serious nature, resulting in serious miscarriage of justice.

It noted that the trial court committed a “serious error” by examining a disproportionately large number of prosecution witnesses on a single day in the judge’s enthusiasm for speeding up the proceeding.

“The court finds merit in the contention of counsel for the appellants [convicts] that grave prejudice was caused to the accused by the above ‘super-fast’ track procedure adopted by the trial judge,” the Bench said.

Noting that the circumstances do not form a complete chain, the Bench acquitted both the men.

‘Serious lapse’

The trial court had taken into account one of the evidence forwarded by the police that one of the accused, when being interrogated by the Investigating Officer (IO), admitted to his involvement in the killing of the deceased.

The Bench remarked that the trial judge has overlooked Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act and failed to realise that such a disclosure by the accused to the IO was inadmissible in evidence. “This is a basic and fundamental error,” the Bench said.

The Bench also noted that the inference drawn by the trial court that the victim put up a stiff resistance to his being sodomised is not supported one bit by the medical evidence or any other evidence.

The Bench said that in the past few months it had come across a number of judgments of this particular trial judge hurrying up the proceedings.

“This results in defence counsel…insufficient time to prepare the defence after consulting the accused, some of whom may be in jail,” the Bench remarked.

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