The judge of the trial court who sentenced Bandra resident Alistair Pereira to six months’ imprisonment, for mowing down seven pavement dwellers last year, has put in his papers following remarks by the Bombay high court over lop-sided investigations and prosecution.
Additional sessions judge Ajit Mishra sent his resignation letter in a sealed cover to the Bombay High Court (HC) after the division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice SC Dharmadhikari took suo motu cognisance of the case on April 19.
Although, the judge has not assigned any reason for resigning from the post, high court sources said that the resignation might have been prompted by certain queries raised by the bench. The high court bench, while taking up the case suo motu and hearing the state’s appeal seeking enhancement of punishment had asked: ‘Why this court should not examine and satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of the findings, sentence and other orders passed during the trial of the above case’?
Indicting the investigating and prosecuting agency for the glaring loopholes left during the course of trial at the sessions court, Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar had stated: ‘There can’t be a greater slur on the system’.
‘In the facts and circumstances of the present case, what directions the court ought to pass in the present proceedings to prevent the miscarriage of justice if any’ — further noted the bench.
On May 3, the bench also wondered how, when fined Rs 5 lakh, Pereira managed to deposit the amount within five minutes of his conviction.
“Did he know in advance?” the court had asked.
According to the case details, Pereira had been convicted for six months and ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh after he was found guilty under section 304 of IPC which amounts to death due to negligence not amounting to culpable homicide and 337 of IPC.
Interestingly, the trial was completed in a span of six days. Judge Mishra, while pronouncing the judgement, had severely criticised the police for its ‘casual approach to the investigations’.
The trial court had also pulled up the investigating officer and said, ‘They do not seem to know how to investigate matters or produce evidence before the court’.