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Monday, April 12, 2021

Gujarat HC to Bhachau court: Hear accused woman before framing charges against her

The woman had moved the High Court with a plea that the charges were framed without following due procedure.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
April 7, 2021 5:03:54 am
Gujarat HC to Bhachau court: Hear accused woman before framing charges against herThe Gujarat High Court on April 5 set aside an order of the additional district and sessions court of Bhachau in Kutch, to frame charges against a woman who is one of the 12 accused in Jayanti Bhanushali murder case. (File)

THE GUJARAT HIGH court on April 5 set aside an order of the additional district and sessions court of Bhachau in Kutch, to frame charges against a woman who is one of the 12 accused in Jayanti Bhanushali murder case.

The woman had moved the High Court with a plea that the charges were framed without following due procedure.

The HC has directed the trial court to hear the woman first before the process of framing charges under CrPC Section 228 is initiated.

The sessions court in Bhachau had framed charges against the woman, who is a resident of Kutch district, and 11 others on February 2 this year after police filed a third charge-sheet in the case. The court had proceeded to frame charges against the 12 accused after granting a plea by the prosecution to club together three court cases registered on the basis of three chargesheets.

However, a plea filed by the woman on January 13 seeking the formality of opening of the case by prosecution as provided by CrPC Section 226 was pending.

In her plea to the sessions court, the woman had sought that the prosecution open the case as required by Section 226 of the CrPC else her right to seek discharge from the case under CrPC 227 would be frustrated.

CrPC Section 226 requires the prosecutor to open its case against accused, when they are brought before the court, by describing charges brought against them and state by what evidence the prosecution proposes to establish its case against the accused.

The accused get opportunity to respond during this proceeding. CrPC Section 227 allows an accused to submit an application to the trial court for discharge from a case, claiming there is not enough evidence to put him or her on trial.

The woman then moved the HC, stating charges against her were framed without “hearing” her or her advocate. After hearing submissions made by the woman’s lawyers JM Panchal and Rahul Dholakia and public prosecutors, the bench of Justice SH Vora on April 5 allowed the woman’s plea.

“…it is noticed by the Court, on the date when the Court passed order of framing charge, learned Special Public Prosecutor was not present. There is no whisper in the Rojkam (here, entry into court’s case log) that learned Sessions Judge evaluated or examined charge sheet papers or even he looked into charge sheet papers and without opening the case by the prosecution as provided under section 226 of the Cr.P.C., the learned Sessions Judge decided to frame the charge under section 228 of Cr.P.C. depriving the applicant from her valuable right under the provisions of Cr.P.C,” Justice Shah underlined in his order.

Jayanti Bhanushali, the former BJP MLA from Abdasa Assembly seat in Kutch district was allegedly shot dead by Shashikant alias Bitiyadada Kamble and Ashraf Sheikh, on board a moving Sayajinagari Express near Samakhiyali in Kutch on January 7, 2019. According to prosecution’s case, Shashikant Kamble and Ashraf Sheikh, the alleged sharp-shooters from Pune, were hired by Bhanushali’s political rivals Chhabil Patel and Jayanti Thakkar alias Jayanti Dumra with the help of the Kutch-based woman who too had grievance against Bhanushali.

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