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Court seeks Centre’s reply on plea to expedite VIP cases

Legal Correspondent

Wheels of criminal justice system do not seem to move: petitioner

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response to suggestions in a public interest litigation petition seeking speedy trial of criminal cases pending in various courts against politicians, bureaucrats and other influential persons.

Citing several high-profile cases, petitioner Virender Kumar Ohri said it appeared that the wheels of the criminal justice system did not move at all and every strategy was being adopted to delay and frustrate the trial.

The state machinery was also being used to seek withdrawal of the charges on absurd grounds. He gave the names of over 200 politicians involved in such cases.

Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan told counsel Prashant Bhushan: “No distinction can be made among the accused for the purpose of putting the trial in criminal cases involving influential persons on the fast track. We cannot define who is an influential person. We cannot say that a person belongs to a particular class. You have to find out the reasons for delay which can be during the probe and trial of the cases. You have to find out whether the delay has been in investigation or in the courts.”

When counsel said he had filed suggestions on court directions, the Bench, which included Justice P. Sathasivam, asked the Centre to file its response in four weeks.

Mr. Bhushan said the trial of all influential persons should be monitored by a designated judge of the High Court concerned and a cell in the High Court should collect information relating to the cases in trial courts.

The petitioner sought a direction to States to ensure that the trial of influential persons was completed expeditiously under the supervision of High Courts.

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