Lower court asked to end Champion trial by January 31

SHILLONG: The High Court of Meghalaya on Tuesday directed the Sessions judge to complete the trial of Champion Sangma and further asked the lower court to pronounce the judgment latest by January 31, 2017.
S. Dey, the counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner while moving an instant bail application submitted before the High Court, said in the case only four witnesses were left and they were all Government servants, but they were not examined for the last four months, as a result of which the trial has come to a halt. He also said the petitioner is suffering from spinal problem and other ailments.
Dey further submitted that the bail application was moved but the same was rejected after pending for quite some time. On the other hand, State counsel R. Gurung submitted that necessary directions may be passed for the time-bound trial.
After hearing the submissions advanced by the counsel for the parties, Justice S.R Sen asked the Sessions judge under what provision of law the witnesses were not examined for the last four months when the petitioner is an under-trial prisoner and is in the custody for the last four and a half years.
“We must remember that when there is a difficulty in granting bail, it becomes a priority upon the court to expedite the trial. We cannot keep a person in custody without trial,” Justice Sen said.
It was further mentioned that in the meantime, the petitioner would have the liberty to move the bail application. The Sessions judge was also asked to see that the petitioner is given specialised medical treatment as he is sick.

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