Bombay HC asks Centre about steps to appoint more judges
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 15:31
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked the Centre to inform it about steps being taken to appoint more special judges and prosecutors in Maharashtra to expedite pending trials under Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) and other statutes.

The direction was issued recently by Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Roshan Dalvi on a petition by a senior member of the Bar Advocate I A Bagaria.

The judges asked the government to inform by November 5 about steps the Centre has proposed for appointment of Prosecutors before Special Courts under the PCA.

The bench also asked the centre to inform when it would issue notification for establishments of such courts at Mumbai, Thane, Alibag, Nagpur, Pune and Goa so that the trials in these cases are expedited.

Government Counsel J C Satpute said that prosecutors for conducting trials in special courts under the PCA can be appointed by the state government also.

The court said that in such a case the issue should be sorted out between the Centre and the respective state governments -- Maharashtra and Goa.

The bench also expressed concern over the issue raised by Advocate Bagaria that the government was not appointing sufficient number of special judges for trial of cases under special penal statues like PCA, Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotrophic Substances Act (NDPS) and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

Advocate Satpute assured the court that these issues were under the consideration of the government and sought time to inform about the steps being taken.

The petitioner alleged that CBI special cases right from 1985 were awaiting trials and from 2001 onwards there had hardly been any disposal of cases.

One of the main reasons for the slow pace of trial was the lack of adequate number of public prosecutors to be appointed by the Centre, Bagaria contended.

In Mumbai alone, there were 421 disproportionate assets cases filed by the CBI which were pending before the special courts, the petitioner said.

He pointed out that there were also large number of cases filed by the CBI under the IPC which were pending before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Mumbai.

Advocate Nitin Jamdar, who appeared for the Registrar General of the High Court, said a corrigendum for designating the Special Courts was likely to be issued on the High Court recommendations. He too sought time in this regard.

The Petitioner submitted that there was a shortage of prosecutors for conducting cases falling under PCA and NDPS.

At present only two to three prosecutors were available to conduct trial in special courts set up under the PCA and NDPS.

Despite shortage of prosecutors, the number of courts had been reduced for PCA cases from five to three and for NDPS cases from eight to four, he said.

Shortage of prosecutors could not be a ground to reduce the number of courts, advocate Bagaria argued.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 15:31

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