Speedy disposal of cases cannot be at the cost of denying justice, the Supreme Court said pulling up a Gujarat trial court that disposed a dowry death case in nine days acquitting all accused except the husband who was given three days imprisonment.
“As observed by the High Court, we are also at pain to notice that the role of prosecuting agency during the trial along with the trial judge appears to be dubious. Besides dying declaration, there was available evidence on record to prove the factum of cruelty and death of Renukaben (victim), but it was not brought on record by the prosecuting agency,” said a bench of Justices MY Eqbal and AM Sapre upholding the Gujarat High Court judgment, which on its own took cognizance of the trial court verdict and sentenced the husband to seven years imprisonment.
In the instant case Renukaben committed suicide on December 16, 1997. The police claimed she set herself ablaze. Married for two years, Renukaben was a mother of an infant girl. She recounted her harassment at the hands of her husband and in-laws in her dying declaration.
The trial court framed charges on December 29, 2004. The trial commenced on January 1, 2005 when prosecution cited 12 witnesses. On January 7, however, the police got only five examined and dropped others. The court gave the verdict on that day, acquitting the parents and sending the husband to three years imprisonment.
SC dismissed the appeal filed by the in-laws and husband, dubbing the prosecutor’s role as unfair. The court said he acted more like a counsel for the defence.
“Court has a greater duty and responsibility i.e. to render justice, in a case where the role of the prosecuting agency itself is put in issue and is said to be hand in glove with the accused, parading a mock fight and making a mockery of the criminal justice administration itself,” the bench said.