Even though the Chief Justice of India (CJI) seeks to downplay judicial arrears, the issue continues to haunt trial of criminal cases.
A city court took 11 years to frame charges against a 55-year-old man, who embezzled Rs 15 lakh from the accounts of one of the colonial-era clubs in Delhi.
During the course of the trial, charges were framed and then dropped and then framed again, on three occasions, making a mockery of judicial proceedings
Four months were spent in rectifying a typographical error and the trial was extended to another two years.
In 1999, a complaint was filed before the Crime Branch, Delhi Police, relating to embezzlement of Rs 15 lakh from the accounts of the Chelmsford Club, located on Raisina Road.
The police arrested B.S.Bhatia, then accounts officer at the club, who managed the funds from 1987-99.
Rajeev Dawar, counsel for Chelmsford Club, told the court, "The case, at present, has defeated the purpose of speedy trial, both in letter and spirit."
The court noted that the chargesheet in the case was filed in August 2000.
A case was registered under sections of fraud and cheating of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
But after 11 years, on July 30, 2010, the court could only frame charges under four criminal sections.
Moreover, the charges could be framed after the Delhi High Court issued directions on July 19, 2010 for a time-bound trial.
Dawar told the court that for six years, Bhatia stalled court proceedings, as he sought repeated adjournments.
B.M. Kapoor, the club's Chief Administrative Officer, said, "It's not a trial but sheer harassment. We were denied the right to speedy justice."