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Meghalaya High Court stays continuation of trial untill further order in death of police officer case

The Meghalaya High Court stayed the continuation of a trial till further order of a case related to the death of police officer PJ Marbaniang.

The papers have been produced before the High Court including the report filed by the special investigation team that had been appointed by the Court.

The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh while hearing a petition filed by the mother of the officer ordered that “Even though the State says that the trial is proceeding, it does not appear that the investigation was satisfactory. Accordingly, let the trial not be continued till further orders”.

Incidentally, the report of the SIT reveals what had been suspected by this Court in the matters pertaining to illegal coal-mining. The SIT report indicates the existence of registers with fixed rates per truck for allowing illegal transportation of illegally-mined coal, illegally-felled timber and illegally-extracted boulders. There are names and officials have been identified in some cases.

“The report of the SIT is disturbing on both counts: first in how it reveals the rampant and structured illegal coal-mining operations and the transportation of the mineral; and, how the SIT arrived at a conclusion despite the evidence that was available”, the Bench observed.

K. Khan, Additional Advocate-General, who is present in Court is requested by the High Court to assist the Court in the matter. It is hoped by the High Court that Khan’s allegiance to his office will not stand in a way of fair and independent assistance being rendered to the Court.

The SIT report and the trial court papers that have been produced will be kept in the custody of the officer attached to the Court. Such papers may only be released to the members of the Bench and to Mr Khan for perusal , the COurt directed while posting the matter on July 27, 2023.

In 2015 , Marbaniang was killed after he resisted the release of seized trucks which had violated NGT ban on transportation of coal.

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