SC pulls up Bombay blast cases judge

NEW DELHI Dec. 4. The Supreme Court has pulled up the Designated Judge for the `1993 Bombay bomb blast cases' for initiating proceedings against the Public Prosecutor of the CBI, N. Natarajan, "for offences elating to documents given in evidence''.

A Bench, comprising S. Rajendra Babu and Arun Kumar, allowed Mr. Natarajan's appeal against the issuance of notice to him by the Designated Judge on an application filed by B.K. Subba Rao, alleging that the Public Prosecutor had made statements contradicting his earlier stand in the case.

Writing the judgment, Justice Rajendra Babu said hearing on framing charges had gone on for about eight months in the case. Considering the nature of the charges to be framed, the voluminous record of the case presented, the seriousness and magnitude of the matter when several hundred persons had been killed and property worth crores of rupees destroyed, in what manner the case should be conducted was serious.

"If the Public Prosecutor had been supporting at one stage of the proceedings the charge-sheet laid in respect of offences under Sections 121 and 121 (a) IPC, later on he realises that evidence is not available at that stage of the case, seeks that for the time being these charges need not be proceeded with . . . we fail to understand as to how the shift in the stand would attract offences under Sec. 195 Cr.P.C.''

(Sec. 195 Cr.P.C. contemplates the initiation of prosecution for contempt of the lawful authority of public servants, for offences against public justice and for offences relating to documents given in evidence.)

The Bench observed that by initiating the proceedings against Mr. Natarajan, the Designated Judge had crippled the freedom of the Public Prosecutor in functioning effectively and such a matter certainly "results in serious miscarriage in administration of justice and no advocate would be safe if such proceedings are initiated on the basis of the allegations of the nature made in the complaint''.

The Bench said, "We are amazed at the manner in which the Designated Judge dealt with this matter . . . If he had thoroughly perused the petition, it would have appeared that the submissions made by the Public Prosecutor — however contradictory they may be — in a case cannot amount to a fabrication of evidence by any stretch of imagination''.

Dismissing the application filed by Mr. Subba Rao under Sec. 340 Cr.P.C., the Bench made it clear that "he shall not engage in this kind of litigation hereafter and he is restrained from making any applications of this nature and if any such application is made before any court, the same shall be dismissed in limine and appropriate proceedings initiated against him''.

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