Drugs case: HC orders salary attachment of cops for failure to depose before trial court
Earlier this month, a similar order was passed in a drugs case FIR of December 2020 by STF Mohali, the trial of which is going on at Tarn Taran since April 2022, when charges were framed against the accused. None of the prosecution witnesses had appeared on five of 11 dates
In the second such instance within a month, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered attachment of salary of Ludhiana cops who failed to depose before the trial court despite multiple reminders in a drugs seizure case.
“Inertness of the prosecution and helplessness of the court remain unexplained. Trial court is directed to attach the salary of the official witnesses who failed to depose despite orders after taking their details from the record,” the bench of justice Pankaj Jain ordered, adding that the attachment would remain in force till the official witnesses appear and depose before the trial court.
Earlier this month, a similar order was passed in a drugs case FIR of December 2020 by STF Mohali, the trial of which is going on at Tarn Taran since April 2022, when charges were framed against the accused. None of the prosecution witnesses had appeared on five of 11 dates.
In the present case, the FIR was registered by Ludhiana police at Sahnewal police station on July 30, 2021. The accused Rajinder Singh is behind bars since August 2,2021. He had sought bail arguing that charges were framed on December 2, 2021 and since then, only one out of 15 cited witnesses have been examined by the trial court while one witness has been given up. He had argued that the right to speedy trial has been recognised under Section 36 of the NDPS Act. Wherever the said right is defeated, rigors as contained in Section 37 of the Act have to pave way for the right to liberty vested in the petitioner, he had argued in May 10 plea for the bail.
After perusal of the trial court record, the bench observed that the record is “an ode to the conduct of the prosecution in delaying the trial”.
As per the record, on a dozen odd hearings, no cop who was a prosecution witness, turned up for hearing. For months, even service could not be effected on many of them. In the case of three cops, trial court had to opt for issuing bailable warrants against the cops, but despite that they skipped multiple hearings on the one pretext or the other. Taking note of the state of affairs, the bail was granted to him in view of the fact that only one out of 15 cited witnesses has been examined till date. Imposing some conditions on the accused, the court further ordered that salary of official witnesses be attached till the time they do not depose.