NEW DELHI: The Indian judiciary wants to take a leaf out of Bangladesh's book for disposing of the huge backlog of cases, especially those criminal in nature. At present, trials in India are usually delayed when an accused flees and doesn’t attend court proceedings because of which no process in the courts can take place.
Unlike India, Bangladesh has a provision of ‘trial in absentia’ to ensure trials do not lag for years. Therefore, the Bangladesh courts can continue trial even if an accused is absconding. For that to happen, notices are first published in newspapers.
Last month, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Adarsh K Goel sought the Centre’s response on whether it is open to changes in law for relieving the Indian courts of the backlog of such criminal cases.
“We have observed that criminal trials remain pending for a long time because of one or more accused absconding. To overcome the situation, in Hussain and Anr Vs Union of India, (2017) 5 SCC 702, we observed that an amendment be considered at par with Section 339-B of the CrPC as applicable in Bangladesh providing for trial in absentia of an accused who absents during the trial,” the Justice Goel-headed bench noted
According to sources at the Ministry of the Law and Justice, a detailed study is being done to assess the law which Bangladesh uses in regular practice. “We will file a detailed response before June 30,” said an official.
The Supreme Court had sought a reply from the Centre after a criminal case came before it in which the accused was untraceable. The accused in question was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in a dacoity-cum-murder case, but the Supreme Court had turned it down. At the same time, the top court had instructed that the trial be concluded in the next six months. The trial, however, remained stayed as the accused went underground.