Bombay HC asks Centre about steps to appoint more judges
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
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.