Friday, September 22, 2023

Supreme Court seeks report from trial court in Jharkhand murder case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Registry to forward a communication to the trial judge to submit a report to this court within a period of three weeks, clarifying the status of the trial in the case against Baijnath Mahto, accused of allegedly assaulting the deceased, who later died during treatment.

A three-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee issued the directions while hearing the bail plea filed by the petitioner praying for grant of bail as he has been in custody for over six years and eight months, and the co-accused have been released on bail.

The petitioner urged the Apex Court to consider that though all the prosecution witnesses in the present matter have been examined, the direction issued by Supreme Court in its order dated August 30, 2019, has not been fulfilled, and the trial is still pending. According to the Supreme Court’s order from August 2019, while no bail was given to the petitioner, the trial court was directed to complete the proceedings within a period of six months.

The petitioner was represented before the Supreme Court by Senior Advocate Devdutt Kamat, Advocates Rajesh Inamdar and Somesh Chandra Jha.

The petitioner in the present case is charged with the commission of an offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. It is alleged that the petitioner Baijnath Mahto, who is the brother of the local MLA, on the orders of the said MLA, had brought the deceased and the girl he was having an affair with, from Chennai, and along with other co-accused persons, had assaulted the deceased, who subsequently died during treatment in hospital.

The previous bail applications of the petitioner were rejected on merits, taking into consideration the statement of a press reporter Manoj Kumar, who had stated that while the deceased was undergoing treatment, he had recorded the video of the deceased, and the deceased had named the petitioner and the other co-accused persons, stating that he was assaulted by them. The said video had also been tested in Forensic Science Laboratory and it was found to be genuine.

The Jharkhand High Court in September 2020 did not find it proper to reconsider the prayer for bail of the petitioner as the bail application of the petitioner had been rejected by the Apex Court and had observed that even on merits, no case was made out for granting bail to the petitioner.

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