A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Hrishikesh Roy, which had earlier cancelled the bail granted by the Patna High Court to an accused in the murder case, was perturbed over the slow pace of the trial.
The top court took note of the submission of lawyer Smarhar Singh, appearing for Ajay Kumar, brother of the deceased trader, that the testimonies of all witnesses have been recorded and moreover, the accused have no witness to produce now in the case.
“We are informed by learned counsel for the petitioner that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was recorded prior to 2019.Though time was sought for production of defence witnesses, ultimately, the accused informed the court that they have no witnesses.
“As the evidence of all witnesses has already been recorded, we direct the trial court to complete the trial within a period of three months from today,” the apex court noted this in its order of January 5.
It has ordered the apex court’s registry to forward the copy of its order to the trial court and posted the case on April 4 to access the development made in the case.
Earlier in August 2020, the apex court had set aside an order of the Patna High Court granting bail to Amit Kumar, one of the accused in the case, saying the criminal antecedents of the accused should have been considered.
Nirbhay Singh, the president of the Bihta Traders’ Association and owner of the ”Uday Chitra Mandir” cinema hall, was shot dead on September 15, 2017 allegedly by three assailants, including one Amit Kumar, accused of running an extortion racket at the local market.
While cancelling the bail, the top court had taken note of the plea moved by Ajay Kumar, the victim’s brother, and had said the high court did not take into account the fact that the prime accused, Amit Kumar, was a habitual offender facing several criminal cases and moreover, the murder trial in the present case was at the fag end.
”Taking into account the criminal antecedents of respondent No.1 (Amit) and the fact that he has committed an offence after he was released on bail, we are of the considered view that the high court should not have released respondent No.1 on bail. The judgment of the high court is set aside. The appeal is allowed accordingly,” the bench had said.
Usually, higher courts do not cancel the bail granted to an accused in a criminal case unless a grave fact, which could be detrimental to a fair trial, about the accused is brought to their notice.
The victim’s brother had filed an appeal in the top court against the high court order granting bail to the accused.
The high court had also granted bail to nine other accused in the case.
Separate appeals were also filed by the victim’s family, challenging the bail granted by the high court on May 1, 2019 to two other accused — Mohammad Shabir and Shankar Choudhary — in the case.
Subsequently, the Bihar government had informed the top court that Shabir’s bail was canceled.
Ajay Kumar said the trial in his brother’s murder case was at the fag end before a trial court in Bihar.