The state government has identified a location for setting up another CBI Court in Ernakulam district. With criminal and corruption cases continuing to pile up before the CBI special courts, the government has given the nod for setting up the state’s fourth CBI Special Court. However, the implementation process was delayed, with the authorities looking out for an apt location.
According to sources, the state government has identified court room spaces at Panampilly Nagar. “We have identified two spots, one is the current Edmalayar Court Complex and the other, a building complex at Panampilly Nagar,” an official in the court said. With this, the number of CBI courts in Ernakulam will go up to three and the state will have four such courts.
The top officials of the Kerala High Court said that the High Court has approved the suggestion of the state and has informed that two selected places are convenient for setting up the court. “Once the state government grants infrastructure and other facilities, the court will begin to function. The functioning of the new court will bring down the number of pending cases,” sources said.
The Centre had decided to set up 71 additional special courts, exclusively for trial of CBI cases in various states, after a Supreme Court directive in the Malik Mazar Sulthan case in 2009. The court had also observed that the delay in trial of cases involving serious offences in the courts was a blot on the justice system. It was based on this observation that the state government decided to establish one more court.
As per the norms, the prescribed limit of pending cases at each CBI Court is not to exceed 50. However, the pending cases at the Ernakalam CBI-I and II and Thiruvananthapuram CBI court are around 83, 68 and 58, respectively, sources said. One of the two CBI courts in the district was also handling cases of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), burdening it with a more workload and little time to handle CBI cases.
Once the new CBI court becomes functional, cases which are under the jurisdiction of northern districts between Ernakulam and Kasaragod will be considered before the court. It is learnt that the High Court has also directed the state to immediately provide necessary staff and infrastructure for the court, given that the time limit granted by the Supreme Court was bypassed in March.
Similarly, the Additional District and Sessions Court (for the trial of cases related to atrocities and sexual violence against women and children), set up on the fifth floor of Revenue Tower, Ernakulam, will be operational soon. The Court was not functioning for the last two months and only sessions cases were considered after the Law Department failed to come out with a notification for the court. According to sources, the notification would be brought out in a few weeks’ time.