Can Liberty of Accused Be Curtailed, If Trial Court Is Unable To Start The Trial? All HC

On 17th November, the Allahabad High Court sought response from the Law Department of State of Uttar Pradesh as to whether in the absence of a trial, can liberty of an accused be curtailed.

The aforesaid issue came up when Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan heard a bail plea wherein, in compliance of an order, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Gonda had submitted a report indicating that charges against accused-applicant have already been framed.

The report in question also mentions that the trial proceedings were held up due to the Covid -19 situation, so the date for the examination of witnesses was set as 26/11/2020.

In this backdrop, the Hon’ble Court observed that if the report is accepted on face value, then may be inferred that the Trial Court was unable to proceed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was further observed that if the Trial Court was unable to proceed, then there was no point in keeping the accused in judicial custody as it appears that the Covid-19 pandemic will continue for days to come.

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Hon’ble Court observed that the main issue before the Court was whether liberty of an accused be curtailed when trial courts are unable to continue the trial.

The Court stated that the accused has been languishing in judicial custody only because the trial was supposed to be conducted and concluded at the earliest but as it is not the case due to the pandemic, therefore, on the next date of hearing the counsel for the state should tell the Court as to what course to adopt in order to make sure that the fundamental right of the accused guaranteed under Article 21 is not denied.

Lastly, the learned AGA was directed to seek instructions from the trial court and the Law Department of UP as to whether in the absence of a trial, can the liberty of the accused be curtailed and if so, what are the reasons behind it.

The matter was adjourned till 07.12.2020.

Case Details:

Title: Ram Niwas vs the State of UP

Case No.: Bail No. 4878 of 2019

Date of Order: 17.11.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan

Counsel for Applicant:- Manoj Kumar Misra 

Counsel for Opposite Party:- G.A.

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