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Friday, July 30, 2021

Independence of district judiciary is cardinal: Apex court

The apex court also bemoaned what it called India’s “two parallel legal systems, one for the rich and the resourceful” and one for “the small men without resources”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 7:45:35 am
AGR caseThe Supreme Court of India. (File)

The Supreme Court on Thursday pointed out that “trial judges work amidst appalling conditions” and called for a change in what it said is “the colonial mindset which pervades the treatment meted out to the district judiciary” stating that “Judicial independence of the district judiciary is cardinal to the integrity of the entire system”.

The apex court also bemoaned what it called India’s “two parallel legal systems, one for the rich and the resourceful” and one for “the small men without resources”.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy said, “The courts comprised in the district judiciary are the first point of interface with citizens. If the faith of the citizen in the administration of justice has to be preserved,it is to the district judiciary that attention must be focused as well as the ‘higher’ judiciary….It is only then that civil liberties for every stakeholder – be it the accused, the victims or civil society – will be meaningfully preserved in our trial courts which are the first line of defence for those who have been wronged.”

The court asked the Madhya Pradesh High Court to initiate an enquiry into apprehension expressed by Additional District Judge of Hata “that the accused (Govind Singh, the husband of BSP MLA Rambai Singh) and the Superintendent of Police, Damoh (district) had colluded with the subordinates of the latter” to frame serious charges against “the judge in order to get the case transferred from that court”. The inquiry has to be completed within a month of receipt of the SC order.

The bench cancelled the bail granted to Singh and directed that he be moved to another jail in the state. It also pulled up the police, saying “the facts which have been narrated in the… judgment indicate that the police have been complicit in shielding the accused”.

Though Singh was convicted in a case of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, the High Court on February 3, 2016 had suspended his sentence pending appeal. In March 2019, he was again implicated in the murder of one Devendra Chaurasia and though the state as well as the son of the victim moved the HC, seeking revocation of the sentence and cancellation of his bail, the HC declined to entertain the same.

On appeal, the Supreme Court found that the ASJ, while arraigning Singh as an accused in the murder of Chaurasia by order February 8 this year, had expressed his apprehensions about the Damoh SP and the accused.

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