Kolkata, Sep 10 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the lower courts to commence or continue trial proceedings, observing that that lack of progress in cases, in which accused are in custody for a long period of time, is not desirable.
A division bench comprising justices Joymalya Bagchi and Suvra Ghosh directed that trial proceedings should be started preferably in sessions cases where the accused are in custody for two years or more and magistrate triable cases where the accused is in custody for six months or more.
'Presently the country is in an unlock mode and lack of progress in trial proceedings particularly in cases where one or more accused is in custody for a protracted period of time is not desirable,' the bench observed during the hearing of a bail prayer.
The bench said that lower courts can start or continue trial proceedings either via physical mode or hybrid/video conferencing mode, following COVID-19 preventive measures.
The bench directed that trials be commenced or continued in cases where specified time frame for conclusion of the trial has been stipulated in the law, such as those under POCSO Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and Negotiable Instruments Act.
It also directed resumption or commencement of trials in criminal cases involving ponzi matters, cases pending before the special courts under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, and National Investigation Agency Act.
The order to the judges of the trial courts in the state came during the hearing of a bail petition by an accused who was charged under the Arms Act and the Explosives Act for allegedly having in possession a huge cache of arms and explosives.
The petitioner's lawyer submitted that he has been in custody for five years.
Rejecting the bail prayer owing to the grave charges against the accused, the division bench said that it is, however, not unmindful of the protracted period of undertrial detention suffered by the petitioner. PTI AMR NN NN