Mumbai: Jamiat-Ulema-e-Maharashtra, which provides free legal aid to youths facing criminal trials, on Friday urged the authorities "to set up fast track courts on the lines suggested by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to the States".
"There is not a single fast-track court to try terror cases in Maharashtra," advocate Shahid Nadeem Ansari, who defends bomb blasts accused on behalf of Jamiat-Ulama-e-Maharashtra, said in a statement.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) has an office in Mumbai but there is no separate Court to try its cases. NIA cases are heard in MCOCA Courts of Judge Y D Shinde, the statement said.
Fifteen accused in the 2003 Mulund blast case are still waiting for the framing of charges against them while trials in the 2003 Vile Parle and 2002 Mumbai Central McDonald`s blasts are yet to be completed, the statement said.
The 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, in which 22 youths have been arrested, is proceeding at a snail`s pace, he pointed out.
The prosecution cited 247 witnesses in the case, though only four were examined in the last six years, he added.
"The 21 youths arrested in 2008 for being member of Indian Mujahideen are also waiting for their trial to begin. The accused have sent an application from Taloja prison to Principal judge Swapna S Joshi urging for establishment of MCOCA Court there or transfer their case to other courts," Ansari said.
Courts in Mumbai are overburdened and additional courts and judges are needed for a speedy trial, the lawyer further said.
If fast-track courts were set up to expedite the terror-related trials, it would help more than 100 youths languishing in various jails in the State and waiting for charges to be framed against them or trial to begin, Gulzar Ahmed Azmi, Secretary (legal cell) of Jamait-Uulema-e- Maharashtra said.