Chandigarh, September 18
In an extraordinary order likely to ensure a speedy trial, an inalienable right under Article 21 of the Constitution, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana suspended payment of the salary of a prosecutor and a investigator in a criminal case. The order will remain in effect until all prosecution witnesses are questioned in the trial court on the case.
They deserve coercive conditions
}Since the public prosecutor and the officer in charge of the investigation of the case did not exercise their functions with the required diligence, they therefore deserve to be subjected to certain coercive conditions in order to compel them to complete the trial process as soon as possible. Judge Rajbir Sehrawat
The investigation came after the High Court found that the prosecutor and investigator had failed to carry out their duties with due diligence. As such, they deserved to be subject to certain coercive conditions to compel them to complete the trial process as soon as possible.
Judge Rajbir Sehrawat’s directive came in a case where not even a single witness has been questioned since the arrest of the accused petitioner more than four years ago. The case came to the bench after a petition was filed by the defendant against the State of Punjab and other defendants for bail in a case filed on July 26, 2018, for abduction, pimping of an underage girl and other offense under Sections 363., 366-A and 34 of the Indian Penal Code at Hoshiarpur City Police Station.
As the case returned for resumption, Judge Sehrawat said it had been brought to the attention of the court that the prosecutor had been partially questioned during her examination-in-chief. But no other witness was questioned by the prosecution. Subsequently, the prosecutor expressed his willingness to file a request under article 319 of the CrPC in order to incarcerate an additional defendant.
Noting the non-examination of only one witness, Judge Sehrawat asserted that the petitioner’s liberty could not be compromised by the prosecution’s flippancy, particularly when the allegations were that the prosecutor had accompanied him and was stayed with him for a whole week. She visited several places and stayed in hotels during this time.
“Even if the petitioner is guilty, it must be tried by a court conducting a serious and prompt trial. However, the prosecution has failed miserably in its duty to conduct the prosecution properly,” Judge Sehrawat asserted.
Making it clear that the petitioner was not required for investigative purposes, Judge Sehrawat allowed the plea after asserting that the petitioner could not be compelled to incarceration without effective proceedings being brought against him by the tribunal.
Before parting with the case, Judge Sehrawat asked the Director of Punjab (Prosecution) and the Hoshiarpur SSP to provide a report to the court regarding the stoppage of the salaries of the two officers. With the limited aim of ensuring compliance, Judge Sehrawat has scheduled the case for hearing in the second week of October.