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Report No. 198

5.8 Maneka Sanjay Gandhi's case (1979):transfer of case can be made if there are local tensions:

The Supreme Court in Maneka Sanjay Gandhi v. Rani Jethmalani (1979) 4 SCC 167 stressed the need for a congenial atmosphere for fair and impartial trial. Krishna Iyer J while defining the need for congenial atmosphere for a fair and impartial trial, observed at para 5:

"This tendency of roughs and street roughs to violate the serenity of court is obstructive of the course of justice and must surely be stamped out. Likewise the safety of the person of an accused or complainant as an essential condition for participation in a trial and where that is put in peril by commotion, tumult, or threat on account of pathological conditions prevalent in a particular venue, the request for a transfer may not be dismissed summarily. It causes disquiet and concern to a court of justice if a person seeing justice is unable to appear, present one's case, bring only witnesses or adduce evidence.

Indeed, it is the duty of the court to assure propitious conditions which conduce to comparative tranquility at the trial. Turbulent conditions putting the accused's life in danger or creating chaos inside the Court hall may jettison public justice. If this vice is peculiar to a particular place and is persistent the transfer of the case from that place may become necessary. Likewise, if there is general consternation or atmosphere of tension or raging masses of public in the entire region taking sides and polluting the climate, vitiating the necessary neutrality to hold a detached judicial trial, the situation may be said to have deteriorated to such an extent as to warrant transfer".

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