April 5, 2021 8:05:12 pm
Last week, a Delhi court junked an 85-year-old lawyer’s allegation that a trial court judge was biased against his client, who is facing murder charges, and ordered the trial to proceed. Following this, Special Judge Pulastya Pramachala was supposed to hear the case – the oldest in his court – in which a former Geeta Colony councilor is accused, on Monday. Instead, the judge found that another adjournment application was filed by the accused.
This time, lawyer SPS Chaudhary said he “fell down and received an injury on his forehead and other parts of the body. He was treated in Metro Hospital, but his stitches have not been removed yet”. When his client Harmesh Kumar was asked a few questions, he told the court that “he does not know what is written in this application and it was not explained in Hindi to him by his counsel”.
The judge pulled them up and said, “The court cannot be brow beaten by such tactics adopted by any accused.” The accused was “adamant to only delay the present proceedings on the pretext of old age of his counsel,” the court said.
It further said, “An accused has a right to engage a counsel of his choice but while exercising such right, the accused has to take a conscious decision, which is best for his defence. This right cannot be exercised in a way to only seek adjournment before the court in the proceedings of the case.”
The court added, “It is his conscious decision to seek adjournment only in this case and not to make alternative arrangement so as to defend him in this proceedings.”
The lawyer had stated in his application that “he is not in a position to attend the proceedings by video conferencing because he does not have facilities at his residence for video conferencing”. He also said he is hard of hearing and “it is not desirable and proper to record the evidence with the help of video conferencing”.
A Delhi court had earlier dismissed the lawyer’s application seeking a transfer of the case over allegations that the trial court judge conducted proceedings post 5 pm which was “inhuman” and that evidence was recorded in English.
The murder case was registered on the statement of Suresh Kumar, brother of victim Daulat Ram, whose body was found in a burnt condition inside a vehicle in Ghaziabad in 1999.
The court has already convicted one person, Mohinder Pal, who had business dealings with the victim. The second accused, Bansi Lal, is Pal’s elder brother and was the municipal councillor of Geeta Colony at the time. Two others, Harish and Harmesh, are also facing trial in this case.
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