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Report No. 198

5.7 In G.X. Francis v. Banke Bihari Singh, A.I.R. 1958 SC 209 the Supreme Court was deciding a transfer petition filed under section 527 of the Cr.P.C. 1898 for the transfer of a criminal case from Jashpuranagar, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, to some other State, preferably New Delhi or Orissa. The complainant in the case was a member of the royal family of Jashpur, who used to reside at Jashpurnagar. All the seven accused, except one, were Roman Catholics and the other one was a Jacobite Christian.

One of the grounds for asking transfer of the case was that there was bitterness among the communities of the accused and the complainants i.e. Christians and Hindus, in the area of Jashpurnagar. In view of the unanimity of testimony from both sides about the nature of surcharged tension in Jashpurnagar, the Supreme Court ordered transfer of the case from Jashpurangar to the State of Orissa, for fair trial . Vivian Bose J, speaking for the Court observed:

"But we do feel that good grounds for transfer from Jashpurnagar are made out because of the bitterness of local communal feeling and the tenseness of the atmosphere there. Public confidence in the fairness of a trial held in such an atmosphere would be seriously underminded, particularly among reasonable Christians all over India, not because the Judge was unfair is biased but because the machinery of justice is geared to work in the midst of such conditions. The calm detached atmosphere of a fair and impartial judicial trial would be wanting and even if justice were done it would not be 'seen to be done'."

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