Maharashtra: To speed up graft trials, more judges empowered to hear cases

  • Pratik Salunke, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2014 20:45 IST

In a major boost to expedite the cases registered by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), the Bombay high court recently empowered more judges to conduct trials of such offenses.

ACB officers hope that with this, the dismal conviction rates in the state will see an improvement.

According to the ACB records, 2,861 corruption cases are pending across Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nanded.

“Earlier, only special judges were allowed to conduct trials in ACB cases. However, now judges at the district sessions courts have been empowered to do so,” said Praveen Dixit, director general of police, ACB.

Citing an example, Dixit said earlier four special judges were allowed to conduct trials in ACB cases in Mumbai. However, with the new directive, the number of judges hearing the cases will increase to 12 or 13. “With the new directive, around 12 to 13 additional sessions judges will be allotted for the cause. This will be immensely help in conducting speedy trials,” said the ACB chief.

ACB officers said this will help clear pending cases. With a massive increase in the number of corruption cases, it was the need of the hour to improve the pace of the trials, officials said.

The number of corruption cases lodged with the agency has more than doubled this year compared to previous years.

Delay in conducting trials is one of the reasons for low conviction rates, he said.

Sources said as the disposal time is stretched, the complainant’s interest in the case deteriorates. Moreover, witnesses either goof up during deposition or become untraceable and vital time is lost, leading to acquittals.

According to officials, most of the times, influential government servants manage to win over the witnesses — through sympathy, pressure or bribery. The transfer or retirement of the officers who investigate the case also affects the case.

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