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'Don't Make Mockery Of Justice' : Supreme Court Rebukes NIA
'Don't Make Mockery Of Justice' : Supreme Court Rebukes NIA

New Delhi, July 5 : While granting bail to an accused who was in jail for four years, the Supreme Court sharply rebuked the National Investigation Agency for delaying the trial. The case was registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967. The Court, without mincing its words, asked the prosecuting agency to not make “mockery of justice” and said that even though the accused is alleged of committing a serious offence, he has the right to a speedy trial.

“Do not make a mockery of justice…National Investigation Agency is the prosecuting agency (NIA). You are the State; you are the NIA… He (the accused) has the right to a speedy trial, whatever offence he has committed. He might have committed a serious offence, but you are under the obligation to start the trial. He has been in jail for the past four years. Till date, the charge has not been framed.,” said Justice Pardiwala.

Noticing that 80 witnesses are to be examined, Judge remarked:  “You propose to examine 80 witnesses. So, tell us how long he should remain in jail?"  The Bench, also comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, was hearing an appeal against the Bombay High Court order that declined to release the appellant on bail in connection with the prosecution under the UAPA.  At first, the counsels for NIA and the State prayed for time, however, considering the prolonged incarceration of the accused, the Court declined to adjourn the matter.

According to the allegations, on February 9, 2020, at 9:30, the appellant was apprehended by the Mumbai police on the basis of secret information. After such an operation was undertaken, counterfeit currency notes were recovered. Allegedly, the notes were from Pakistan.  However, the Top Court, apart from considering prolonged incarceration, also noted that the two co-accused have been released on bail. The Court ordered that howsoever serious a crime may be, the accused has a right to a speedy trial under Article 21 of the Constitution. In view of this, the Court granted him bail and, as a pre-condition, asked him not to leave Bombay and be present before NIA's Bombay office in 15 days.

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