New Delhi, December 17
A High Court cannot order a lower court to expedite trial on an application by a person who is not connected with the criminal proceeding, the Supreme Court has said on Thursday.
The top court said it was well settled that criminal trial, where offences involved are under the Prevention of Corruption Act, have to be conducted and concluded at the earliest as they affected not only the accused but the entire society and administration.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah said the High Court in appropriate cases could very well under Section 482 of the CrPC (inherent powers of high court) or in any other proceeding could always direct trial court to expedite the criminal trial and issue such order as may be necessary.
“An application by a person who is in no way connected with the criminal proceeding or criminal trial under Section 482 CrPC cannot ordinarily be entertained by the High Court. A criminal trial of an accused is conducted in accordance with procedure as prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code. It is the obligation of the State and the prosecution to ensure that all criminal trials are conducted expeditiously so that justice can be delivered to the accused, if found guilty,” the bench said.
The observation came on an appeal against a judgement of the Allahabad High Court, which directed the trial court to expedite the criminal trial and conclude the same at the earliest.
The Uttar Pradesh police had lodged a case against one Sanjay Tiwari in 2006 and filed a charge sheet after 14 years.
The HC had ordered the lower court to speed up the trial on the plea of social activist Tripuresh Tripathi.
The Apex Court said this was not a case where prosecution or even the employer of the accused have filed an application either before the trial court or in any other court.
The Apex Court said it had held in earlier judgments that it is for parties in the criminal case to raise questions and challenge the proceedings initiated against them at appropriate time before the proper forum and not for third parties under the garb of public interest litigants.
The top court said in a criminal case, an outsider could not have any legal role.
“But the present is a case where proceedings initiated by Tripathi do not appear to be bona fide proceedings. He is in no way connected with initiation of criminal proceedings against the appellant,” it said. PTI