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Tale of a Murder Trial: 6 Years to Convict, 15 Years to Acquit, 3 Years to Trace Accused

Exemplifying one of the problems in regard to pending cases even at the highest court of the land, this case may very well serve as a reminder of the sluggish pace of disposal at all levels of justice delivery system.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:March 20, 2018, 1:56 PM IST
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Tale of a Murder Trial: 6 Years to Convict, 15 Years to Acquit, 3 Years to Trace Accused
Representative Image. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: In July 2015, the Supreme Court issued notice to a man after Madhya Pradesh government challenged his acquittal in a murder case. Till date, the Court is waiting for that notice to be served upon him while the case remains pending.

Exemplifying one of the problems in regard to pending cases even at the highest court of the land, this case may very well serve as a reminder of the sluggish pace of disposal at all levels of justice delivery system.

Bhola Mahor, along with some other co-accused, was convicted by a Gwalior trial court in 1999. He was sentenced to life term for killing a man in 1993.

While his trial concluded in six years, the Madhya Pradesh High Court could decide his Mahor's appeal against conviction only in May 2014 -- 21 years after the incident and 15 years after the trial court judgment.

The High Court gave benefit of doubt to Mahor in this case based on circumstantial evidence and freed him.

In 2015, the state government filed its appeal against Mahor's acquittal in the Supreme Court.

On July 10, 2015, the apex court agreed to examine the appeal and issued a notice to Mahor.

Between July 10, 2015 and March 12, 2018, the matter was listed for five times but the story remained the same -- state government and police failed to trace Mahor and serve the Court notice upon him so that the case could proceed.

In January this year, the Court asked the concerned Superintendent of Police and the Station House Officer to trace Mahor but to no avail.

When the case was listed last this month, the Court indicated that it could not wait any longer.

"It is made clear that in case Superintendent of Police is also unable to trace out the respondent, the special
leave petition shall be dismissed for non-availability of respondent," the apex court said in its latest order.

The Superintendent of Police shall submit the necessary report within a period of four weeks, it added.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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