Monday was the day for final arguments in the Uber rape case but there was no proper hearing, let alone final. Amid verbal sparring, the new defence counsel, D K Mishra, moved an application to “recall” all prosecution witnesses in the case, alleging that the previous counsel was “naive” and “incompetent” and caused “serious prejudice” to the defence of the accused.
Mishra alleged that there were “fabrications and manufacturing of evidence” by the prosecution and moved an application to recall all the prosecution witnesses to ensure a “fair trial”. The fast-track court will now give its order on the application to recall the 28 prosecution witnesses tomorrow.
ASJ Kaveri Baweja said, “Is there is any criteria to asses the competency of the counsel? Show me a judgment that deals with this aspect.”
Mishra argued that there are judgments which state that you need senior members of bar to deal with serious matters involving life imprisonment.
“In this case, the defence has failed to discharge its duty, perhaps due to lack of adequate knowledge. He has even failed to ask relevant questions on material aspects during cross-examination and has even failed to put suggestions required for proper defence. The present trial is mockery of justice,” he said.
Opposing the defence plea, senior public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava said it is “only a tactic to delay” the trial. “There is no provision that states that when an accused engages with a new defence counsel, he is at liberty to recall all the witness to examine again. The earlier defence has placed his arguments based on his abilities,” Shrivastava said.
The court asked Mishra to give “written submissions” to further substantiate his claims. When Mishra said he wanted to “submit all his arguments verbally”, the judge replied, “I will not allow you to hijack the trial. You give me your written submissions.”