SC frowns at delay in charging BSP lawmaker in murder case

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned at the snail’s pace at which subordinate judiciary functions in north India when it comes to high and mighty, taking exception to non-framing of charges by a subordinate court in Uttar Pradesh against a lawmaker in a murder case even two decades after he was accused of the crime.

Noting that even after 20 long years, the charges have not been framed against the petitioner BSP legislative councillor Suraj Bhan Karwarriya and other murder accused, a bench of Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice C. Nagappan said: “It never happens in south (India). It is done in two months. It happens only in north.”

Justice Nagappan said: “Last night I was surprised, while going through the papers, (that) for 20 years, charges have not been framed.”

“Look at it from the institutional angle. In south India, it happens in two months. It (delay) happens only in north India.”

The court observation over the manner in which trial courts were proceeding in the matter involving VIPs came as senior counsel Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Karwarriya, mentioned the matter and urged the court to grant two months interim bail to his client so that he could organise the treatment of his ailing mother suffering from multiple old age-related diseases.

Saying that the pace at which subordinate courts worked in south was “admirable”, Luthra told the court that he was not seeking bail for his client but for his release so that he could personally arrange for his mother’s treatment.

“I am not asking for regular bail. All the three brothers are in custody,” Luthra said as he took the court through the medical reports of Karwarriya’s ailing mother who suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes and related diseases.

“Once you are out on bail, then the hearing on the framing of charges slated to commence from September 11 would not take place,” Justice Nagappan observed pointing that framing of charges requires the presence of all the accused.

“Why so much delay in the framing of charges,” the court asked Luthra, adding “If one of you is absent” then it can’t proceed.”

However, the counsel for the complainant opposed the plea saying that Karwarriya belonged to a powerful family and one of his brother was an MP and the other a legislator.

“They are a powerful family. One brother is MP, another MLA and the petitioner is MLC. They managed to dealy the framing of charges for 20 years. They don’t need any help (for the treatment of their mother),” said counsel for the complainant.

Pointing to the might of the Karwarriya family, counsel told the court that despite its direction earlier this year to expedite the framing of charges, it is only now scheduled to commence on September 11.

As Luthra tried to impress upon the court the urgency of the medical treatment required by his client’s mother, he told the court that petitioner Karwarriya’s two brothers were former lawmakers.

Permitting Luthra to serve the copy of Karwarriya’s petition on the standing counsel of Uttar Pradesh, the court said that it would hear the plea only on September 15 after trial court starts hearing on the framing of charges from September 11.

Karwarriya and others are accused of allegedly murdering the then Jhansi legislator Jawahar Pandit, of the Samajwadi Party, on August 13, 1996.

Pandit’s widow Vijma Yadav is currently represents the Pratappur assembly constituency.

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