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Court pulls up Delhi govt in a 1997 cheating case

Court pulls up Delhi govt in a 1997 cheating case

A court here has pulled up Delhi government for its plea seeking to recall some prosecution witnesses in a 1997 cheating case, saying the petition was “hopelessly barred by limitation” and the state does not seem interested in getting the matter disposed of expeditiously.

“The present revision petition is hopelessly barred by limitation and is devoid of any merits as well because the matter pertains to year 1997 and despite lapse of almost 18 years, prosecution seems not to be interested in getting the same disposed of expeditiously,” Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said, while dismissing the plea.

The court’s decision came on the revision petition filed by the city government challenging the December 2014 order of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) by which its application under section 311 CrPC for recalling of prosecution witnesses was dismissed.

In its plea, the government had said that in the case, involving four accused persons, only 11 out of 52 prosecution witnesses were examined and the CMM had closed the prosecution evidence (PE) without failing to appreciate the fact that even summons were not issued to many public and police witnesses.

“The CMM failed to appreciate that in the present case the accused persons were involved in cheating several innocent victims, hence, it was not fair on his part to have closed the PE and therefore, recalling of those witnesses was vital,” the prosecutor had said.

The court, while rejecting the government’s request, noted that the prayer for recalling witnesses was once rejected by Additional CMM in 2011 and then after three years the state moved the application before CMM, which was again rejected.

“Prosecutor has argued that there is no bar in moving such applications one after the other. However, I do not find myself in agreement with this contention as it would result into a never-ending process on the part of the litigants to prefer such applications one after the other and the cases would not be able to see final day light,” the judge said.

It noted that 35 effective opportunities were given to the state by the trial court to conclude PE but the government failed to give any reasonable account as to why all witnesses were not examined “despite availing more than sufficient number of opportunities”.

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