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Report No. 239

2.4 Causes for delay in the progress of Crl. cases in trial Courts

(1) Absence of some or all the accused or non-production of undertrial prisoners at the stage of framing of charges and during trial. Earnest efforts are not being made by the Police in apprehending and producing the absconding accused. Execution of warrants has become the least priority for the police who have their own reason.- genuine as well as artificial. Where there are large number of accused, the delays on this account have become a routine feature. If the accused are residing outside the District or the State, it compounds the problem further.

(2) Police fail to ensure that prosecution witnesses turn up in time and quite often, even I.Os are defaulters. Trial cases are adjourned quite often for non-attendance of official witnesses.

(3) One or the other advocate appearing for the accused seeking adjournments without adequate justification mainly to delay the trial or to give handle to the accused party to win over the witnesses. The heavy workload in the courts is taken advantage of by the advocates to press for adjournments. The witnesses are often constrained to leave the court without being examined. Sometimes, the Prosecution also seeks adjournment without prior notice to the advocate for the accused.

(4) Lack of proper witness protection measures and the Court failing to act promptly in cases of complaints of harassment/inducement of witnesses.

(5) Trial Judges not putting in place effective case management measures such as fixing up proper time-schedules and ensuring continuity in trial and dealing with the advocates with firmness and tact. Further, there is a tendency on the part of some of the Judges to be complacent, once they reach the prescribed number of units (i.e. required number of disposals per month).

(6) Judges trying serious offences under the special Acts such as PC Act, NDPS Act, Economic offences being transferred (even when there are no specific complaints) before they complete their three year term.

(7) Trial Judges not effectively availing of certain provisions of Cr. PC viz, Sections 293, 294 and 296. Section 299 (recording of evidence in absence of accused) being resorted to belatedly. So also delays are noticed in issuing proclamation orders against absconding accused.

(8) Inadequate number of Courts especially in some major States.

(9) Inadequate staff strength and deficient recruitment process.

(10) Absence of effective mechanism at the High Court level to identify old matters especially Session cases and to take necessary remedial measures on regular basis.

(11) District Judges not bringing to the notice of the High Court extraordinary delays being caused in specific cases while furnishing monthly/quarterly statements to the High Court.

(12) Trials are often held up on account of pendency of quash proceedings in the High Courts after the charges are framed. In the recent judgment of Supreme Court in Imtiyaz Ahmad's Case [2012 (2) SCALE 81], this problem has been dealt with and appropriate directions given.

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