Maudany told to approach B'luru court for joint trial

Maudany told to approach B'luru court for joint trial

 The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Kerala’s PDP leader Abdul Nazir Maudany to approach the special court in Bengaluru with his plea for a joint trial in nine separate cases registered in connection with serial blasts in the City in 2008.

The court agreed with the contention of the Karnataka government that to hold joint trial or not was a discretion of the special judge.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre also directed the special court to apprise the apex court about the probable time it will take to complete the trial, if the proceedings were held separately and jointly in all nine cases, involving 31 accused.

The court also directed the special judge, holding trial in the cases, to dispose of Maudany’s plea relating to clubbing of the proceedings within a week. Passing its order on plea by Maudany, the bench directed the special court to take into consideration guidelines laid down by it in a judgment in a different case in September 2015.

The principles mandated that the trial court has to consider the enormity of the trial, number of witnesses, Constitutional right of the accused for speedy proceedings and other accused should not be prejudiced with it.

Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Haris Beeran, appearing for Maudany, cited Section 220 and 223 of the Criminal Procedure Code, allowing for holding combined trial in cases arising out of one conspiracy.

They claimed same witnesses were being summoned in nine separate cases, thereby delaying the conclusion of the proceedings.

If separate trial was to be conducted in the blast cases, as many as 700 witnesses would have to be examined, the advocates claimed.

The petitioners’ advocate further claimed when Maudany was granted bail on medical ground in November 2014, the state government assured the court that the trial would be concluded in four months.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, representing Karnataka, relied upon the 2015 judgment to submit that discretion for holding separate or joint trial was vested in trial court only.

He also submitted that the petitioner, though made such a plea before the apex court, never approached the trial court with his request.

In view of his plea, the court directed Maudany to file his application before the trial court and put the matter for further consideration after four weeks.

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