A day after Ajmal Kasab was convicted for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks following a trial that wound up in a record 17 months, prosecution and legal luminaries, including former Delhi High Court judges questioned the delay in the verdict on various terror attacks on the national capital, New Delhi.
More than 100 people were killed in serial blasts in the Delhi in 2005 and 2008 at busy market places. But the trials are still far from complete.
Questions are also being raised if fast-tracking proceedings of the Mumbai attack trials were on account of the terror targets there being high-end hotels, and their affluent customers and top police officials being on the list of victims.
Delhi police sources said a special court on the lines of that prosecuting the Mumbai attacks case should have been created for speedy trial of all blast cases. “These cases at present are being taken up along with other cases. Court has no time for special hearings,” said a police officer.
The 2005 blast cases are only at the stage of recording of evidence. Moreover, six main chargesheets and two supplementary chargesheets have just been filed in the 2008 blasts.
“Delhi witnessed death and destruction akin to Mumbai twice in last five years. It is surprising why the prosecution, government, or Delhi High Court did not press for a special court with a judge exclusively assigned with the case for a speedy trial,” said R.S. Sodhi, former judge, Delhi HC.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Rajiv Dhawan is of the view that the Maharashtra Government's decision to appoint a special judge for 26/11 trial was the turning point.
“He (Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani) had the time to involve himself in the trial. He examined 658 witnesses himself. There should have been a special judge in Delhi too for the terror cases here and day-to-day hearings. Judge who heard the evidence should be hearing the arguments. In Delhi, the judges kept changing.”
Former HC judge J D Kapoor said: “The Kasab case is an example. Look at US, UK and Canada: such trials are completed within three months.”