The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the state of Uttar Pradesh for its negligent and lackadaisical approach in contesting cases against the accused in criminal appeals.
The bench of Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar was considering an appeal filed by de facto complainant against Allahabad High Court order granting bail to a murder accused. It was contended that the high court had simply granted bail to the accused without following the basic principles of criminal law. It was also submitted that ever since the accused released on bail, the complainant’s family is being threatened with dire consequences if they depose against the accused.
The court noted that the state had entered an appearance in this case only after the court had pulled it up and had filed a counter affidavit, more than a year after notice was issued to it.
The bench said: “We are constrained to observe that though it is the responsibility of the State to protect the victims and contest the case against accused, in the instant matter, the State did not bother to take effective steps. Not only it failed to file a petition seeking cancellation of bail against the accused, the State remained negligent and did not even feel it necessary to enter appearance and contest the matter. It is only after this Court took serious view and directed the State on 29th October, 2018 calling the Principal Secretary (Law) to muster his presence and explain the reasons, the State entered appearance and filed counter affidavit on November 3, 2018 i.e. more than a year after issuing notice on 30th October, 2017.”
Senior Advocate V Shekhar, who appeared for the state, then assured the court that he will ensure the appearance of state counsel in all matters and also the timely filing of counter-affidavits.
But the bench said: “However, we are not satisfied with the mere oral assurance.”
Expressing its ‘displeasure’, the bench proceeded to direct the Chief Secretary as well as the Principal Secretary (Law) of the state to file affidavits within four weeks. They were also directed to inform the court about the steps which they are going to take to avoid recurrence of such negligence by the state.
The bench also cancelled the bail granted to the accused and directed the trial court to speed up the trial.
The same bench had made similar remarks against Gujarat for not filing an appeal in a case where bail was granted to an accused in a rape case.