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PIL seeks Commencement of Limited Physical Hearing in Criminal Trials Pending over 10 Years where Accused are Lingering in Custody

PIL seeks Commencement of Limited Physical Hearing in Criminal Trials Pending over 10 Years where Accused are Lingering in Custody
A PIL has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking directions for commencing for the trials for criminal matters that have remained pending for more than ten years wherein the accused are straggled in custody for a long time.

The gradual unlock process referred by Advocate Aarti Suvarna, which both the state and center took the first step from June 4 and argued that since Government and Private offices are now functioning(though in a limited capacity) and malls, gymnasiums, restaurants, hotels have also been opened, so the criminal trial of custody matters also needs to commence in order to get speedy justice by initiating the limited physical hearing for conducting a trial of the criminal case pending for more than a decade, by implementing Standard Operating Procedure (with 30%-50 % strength).

Advocate Aarti Suvarna also stated that during the lockdown process and unlock implementation, many courts in India have conducted hearing of pending cases that are urgent in a manner to be disposed of, via video conferencing. She also mentioned that as on date the Hon’ble High Court and district courts have been performing physical hearings of some limited urgent cases and the rest of the cases through video conferencing as much as possible. 

The petitioner mentioned some vital points in her petition where she argued that under the cases being pending for final verdict, the accused have been in custody for several years is completely a clear case of violation of Human Rights which should be commenced and such pending cases need to be speedy disposal in order to eradicate some negligence.

As for the Standard Operating Procedure, some of the suggestions made are –

  1. The criminal cases which were pending for more than a decade need to be identified and enlisted and should be treated on an immediate priority basis.
  2. For both physical hearing and hearing through video conferencing, only five matters should be listed for trial between 11 am to 2 pm.
  3. Apart from physical hearing, there should be a provision where the accused should appear for trial through Video conferencing from jail.
  4. There should be some limitations where only one Arguing counsel, one AOR, and one Public Prosecutor to be allowed to enter.
  5. The bar and bench should be segregated with a glass shield to avoid physical contact for prevention.
  6. There should be mandatory provisions for wearing masks and gloves in Courtroom premises.
  7. There should be compulsory arrangements for thermal scanning and oxygen check at the entrance of Court gates.
  8. Sanitization of Court premises before and after Court hours should be done and checked on a regular basis.

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