February 7, 2017 9:03:28 pm
Over 15 years after a man was sent to jail for seven year for raping a girl, he will have to face trial in the matter all over again as the Delhi High Court has remanded the case back to a lower court on the ground that he was unrepresented during the proceedings. Justice Mukta Gupta said that though the man was represented by a lawyer, the advocate had stopped appearing in the middle of the trial and as a result prosecution witnesses could not be cross-examined on his behalf.
The court said, “It was duty of the additional sessions judge to inform the appellant about his right to legal aid which is enshrined within the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
However, in the instant case, “the appellant (the convict) was not informed about his right of legal aid and without providing legal aid, the opportunity to cross examine the prosecution witnesses was closed”, the high court said in its eight-page judgement.
Watch What Else Is Making News
“The duty of the court does not end by offering a lawyer, the accused should be informed about the consequences and danger of waiver. The present case is not one where the appellant was offered a counsel at State expense which he refused,” it further said.
It also noted that as he was not represented by a lawyer for most of the trial, he could not even file an application to recall the witnesses whose cross-examination was essential.
“Thus, in view of the aforesaid, the matter is remanded back to the trial court for fresh trial which would be completed as expeditiously as possible,” the high court said.
The man was convicted on July 27, 2001 and was awarded the sentence on August 3, 2001 for kidnapping and raping the girl. According to the police, the girl’s father had lodged a complaint on March 10, 1998, saying his daughter has been missing since March 9, 1998 and that he suspected that the appellant, who stayed nearby, had enticed her. The girl was recovered on March 27, 1998 from Anand Vihar bus stand and shortly thereafter, the appellant was also arrested. On the basis of her statement, charges for kidnapping and rape were framed against him.
While disposing of the man’s appeal, the high court said that since he had already undergone nearly four years and six months of imprisonment, when he appears before the trial court on March 3, 2017, he be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 15,000 with one surety of the like amount.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.