HYDERABAD: Justice Shameem Akthar of Telangana High Court dismissed the petition filed by Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer Y Srilakshmi in Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) case, seeking the court to call for records and to direct the Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Hyderabad, to conduct a hearing on charges and discharge applications only after the CBI files its final report under Section 173 of CrPC. The case related to the ‘interstate boundary dispute’ which is kept on hold and not specifically dealt with in the four chargesheets filed by CBI, and which is contrary to the judgments passed by the a division bench of the court.
Srilakshmi’s counsel wanted the court to defer the hearing till the dispute on the boundary between OMC and its rival mining companies on the Andhra-Karnataka border is resolved. The CBI informed the court that the probe into the case was over and that it has no intention of filing any additional chargesheet in respect to the case. After hearing arguments, the bench opined that ‘it is apt to observe that the subject calendar case is of the year 2012’.
Though nine years have elapsed, the case is still at the stage of hearing on framing of charges and discharge applications. While it is important to give adequate opportunity to the accused to defend her case following the principle of fair trial, it is equally important to ensure that the entire proceedings cannot be stalled on flimsy and unconvincing grounds. Speedy trial is the essence of criminal justice system, which cannot be stalled for years together on unreasonable grounds. It is well known that “Justice delayed is Justice denied”, the court observed.
In a catena of judgments, the Apex Court held that speedy trial is an inalienable right under Article 21 of the Constitution.The court further opined that petitioner Srilaxmi failed to make out valid grounds to accede to her request by exercising inherent power of this court under Section 484 of CrPC. The relief sought by the petitioner in this criminal petition cannot be granted. The criminal petition is devoid of merit and is liable to be dismissed. Consequently, the interim order granted by this court on July 9, 2021 and which is being extended form time to time, stands vacated, the court said.