In a ruling that may help curb corruption in Bihar in a big way, the Patna high court on Thursday barred courts from ordering stays in graft cases.
Referring to a large volume of corruption cases in which trials have been pending for years, Justice Rakesh Kumar observed: “It is surprising that, even though there was no stay granted by this court, (there has been) non-framing of charges and non-commencement of the trial (in corruption cases)”.
In its 19-page order, the HC said: “Cases relating to offences of corruption are required to be expeditiously dealt by the concerned trial courts”.
Justice Kumar referred to the corruption act and the 2001 Supreme Court ruling in the Satya Narayan Sharma case.
In the Sharma case, the apex court had noted: “In a large number of cases, stays have been granted by high courts in matters under the Prevention of Corruption Act, even though there is a specific bar against (it). We therefore direct the registrars of all the high courts to list all cases, in which such stay is granted, before the court concerned, so that appropriate action can be taken by that court in the light of this decision (Sharma case)”.
Thursday’s order came on a petition filed by Priya Ranjan Kumar Mehta, a former officer in-charge of Bidupur police station in Vaishali district. Vigilance sleuths had nabbed Mehta about six years back in an alleged corruption case.
Justice Kumar dismissed Mehta’s petition, challenging a November 2011 order of the special vigilance judge, Patna. He also directed the special vigilance court to frame charges against Mehta within a month.
“If the court is satisfied with the charge, and charges are framed...the trial court is directed to proceed with the case at least twice in a week, so the case may come to its logical end within six months,” said the order.