Can’t define who’s influential,rules apex court

A criminal case involving Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren,who lost the Tamar bypoll on Thursday..

Written by Tannu Sharma | New Delhi | Published:January 10, 2009 1:53 am

A criminal case involving Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren,who lost the Tamar bypoll on Thursday,was cited in the Supreme Court on Friday while highlighting how cases and complaints involving ‘influential persons’ drag on for years and they continue to avoid the process of law.

It was only after more than three decades that the final decision came in the case registered in 1975 against Soren,contended advocate Prashant Bhushan,arguing for defining “influential persons” and laying down specific guidelines for probe and trial of such persons.

However,the Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan observed,“We cannot define who is an influential person. We cannot say a person belongs to a particular class.”

Underlining Soren’s instance,the counsel said investigation of cases involving such high and mighty persons should be monitored by the DGP of every state.

Asserting that a special division should be created within the state DGP’s office for continuous monitoring of cases of powerful persons,the advocate said this would go a long way in reforming the criminal justice system.

However,the CJI said,“Find the reasons for delay. Whether it is during the investigation or trial?”

On being informed by Bhushan that most of the times,delay was at every possible step,the Bench noted: “If it is during the trial,the appropriate court may pass appropriate directions.”

But no distinction could be made against accused persons as influential or non-influential,observed the Bench,also comprising Justice P Sathasivam.

Hearing the petitioner’s submissions,the Union Government counsel assured that a response to it would be filed. The suggestions came during the hearing of a PIL filed by an advocate V K Ohri,who had cited Soren’s case in his petition as an example of delay caused by powerful persons,making the common people suffer.

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