Report No. 239
4. Cases against high Government officials:
4.1 As regards senior Government officials, the cases against them are mostly under the Prevention of Corruption Act which are assigned to Special Courts. Almost invariably, the officers facing trial in CBI/ACB or other Special Courts will be under suspension. Delaying the matters by virtue of their official position which they held some time in the past, may not be rampant.
Of course, just as any other accused, if it suits them, they may delay the trial by seeking unnecessary adjournments through the lawyer or by seeking opportunity to cross-examine even formal witnesses. Such eventualities raise the question of case management by the Court concerned. These Courts, by and large, are not overburdened with the work assigned to them and they can adopt such measures as may be needed to counter the moves to delay the trials.
However, quite often, there will be inaction or inordinate delay on the part of the prosecution to produce the summoned witnesses or examine the investigating officer. If, in a few cases, the Presiding Officer (of the rank of District/Addl. District Judge) feels that the intervention of the High Court is necessary to give suitable directions to the Police/prosecuting machinery to activise them, the presiding officer should send up a report to the Registrar of the High Court.
4.2 In prevention of corruption cases, it is reported that the disproportionate assets cases get prolonged as a number of witnesse.- necessary and unnecessary, will be examined. Even the filing of the charge-sheet in such matters, it is reported, is delayed, some times for more than a year after completion of investigation. Further, sufficient number of Special Courts to deal with PC Act cases are not in place in many States. These are the special problems in cases relating to Government officials.
The identification of senior Government officials who held important positions in the Government is not at all a problem, nor is it necessary. It is not desirable to attempt at a classification of the cases involving senior Government officials and those at lower levels. If however such officials are seen to be adopting dilatory tactics or otherwise found interfering with the process of justice, the court is not helpless to press into service the necessary case management measures, apart from sending a special report to the High Court, as suggested earlier.