A bench comprising justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad made it clear it will scrutinise the aspect of delay after 1991 as the apex court had in that year dealt with the Mishra case along with other cases in which it was held that speedy trial was the fundamental right of accused under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The bench said "if we come to the conclusion that the delay was due to the prosecution, then it will be held in favour of the accused and if we find that the delay was due to the accused, then the accused will be held to be at fault".
"Further, if we come to the conclusion that delay was due to the system, then everyone is responsible," it added.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by 65-year-old advocate Ranjan Dwivedi seeking quashing of the trial against him in the 1975 murder case of Mishra.
Mishra was killed in a bomb blast at a function at Samastipur Railway station in Bihar on January 3, 1975, and Dwivedi, who was 24-year-old at that time, was made accused along with three Anand Margas members, one of whom has died.
Dwivedi's counsel and senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, who described the case as "unique", did not go by the suggestion of the apex court that the trial court should be asked to conclude the trial within three months and instead stuck to the stand that extra-ordinary delay was a sufficient ground to bring an end to the case.
However, Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval and advocate Srinivas Khalap, opposed the plea and said since the trial was in a concluding stage, it should be allowed to continue to its logical end.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would examine the role of each stakeholder for the 37-year delay in the trial of former Railway Minister L N Mishra's murder even as CBI opposed the plea of the accused for quashing the trial on account of the delay.
First Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012, 21:00