The Supreme Court Monday said it would hear in July the petition by Ranjan Dwivedi – an accused in a bomb attack at then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra in 1975 – seeking quashing of charges and criminal proceedings against him, in a trial hanging for more than 37 years.
An apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice C.K. Prasad, ordered the hearing of the petition on July 24, after senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina told the court that the trial in the case has been hanging for more than 37 years and the petitioner was undergoing an agony that was worse than that of a condemned prisoner.
The senior counsel told the court that in under no jurisprudence could the trial of a person be hanging for 37 years. “Irrespective of the reasons can a trial of a person hang for 37 years,” Andhyarujina told the court.
In these 37 years not only the petitioner had grown old but had even suffered a stroke, the court was told. The court was told that despite its directions of 1992 nothing has moved so far.
“How long can this go on? How long can the agony of a person continue like this”, Andhyarujina asked the court.
Sharing the anguish of the senior counsel Andhyarujina, the court said that “We understand it requires a serious deliberation.”
The apex court in the last hearing of the matter on Dec 15, 2011, had issued notice to CBI on the petition by Dwivedi seeking quashing of charges and criminal proceedings against him.
Seeking quashing of the charges, Dwivedi in his petition has contended that his repeated attempt for speedy justice were thwarted by the CBI, and now since the “defence is irreparably damaged, quashing of the case is the only remedy.”
Because of inordinate delay in completing the trial, Dwivedi has said that during this period 31 material witnesses and four defence counsels have passed away and those remaining because of their advanced age had difficulty in recalling their evidence after such a long gap.
Dwivedi is one of the accused who allegedly threw a bomb at the dais where the then railway minister was addressing a public meeting in Samastipur in Bihar Jan 2, 1975. Mishra, injured in the attack, died in hospital the next day.