The Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment awarded to a murder accused as he went unrepresented by a lawyer during the Trial.

The Division Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal has remanded the matter back to Trial Court for cross-examination of the prosecution witness.

Accused Narender @ Lala was convicted and sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for allegedly murdering his wife by strangulating her to death.

The accused had approached High Court challenging his conviction and life sentence.

Advocate Abhay Kumar and Advocate Rahul Ranjan represented the accused whereas Respondent State was represented by Additional Public Prosecutor Mukesh Kumar.

The main challenge of the appellant-accused was that during the substantial course of trial, the appellant was not represented by a lawyer hence the trial in the absence of a lawyer seriously prejudiced him.

The appellant sought to recall all the prosecution witnesses so that a fair trial can be ensured.

The Court observed that "The manner in which the trial is conducted, there was a serious denial of fair trial to the appellant. The appellant is required to be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses i.e. the witnesses examined in the absence of the lawyer, or the lawyer having been appointed on the same day from the legal aid and asked to cross-examine the witnesses."

The Court further noted that "…this Court is of the considered opinion that there has been a grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant when number of witnesses were examined when the appellant was not represented by a counsel and then when the legal aid counsel who was present in the Court was appointed on the same day was asked to cross-examine the witnesses."

Therefore the Court set aside the Judgment of conviction and sentence while remanding the matter back to Trial Court.

"The matter is remanded back to the Trial Court for cross-examination of PW-9 to PW-18, PW-20, PW-21, PW-22, PW-23, PW 24, PW-26, PW-27 & PW-28. Thereafter, the learned Additional Sessions Judge will follow due process of law and will record the statement of the appellant under Section 313 Cr.P.C. if required and permit leading the defence evidence if so required.", the Court held.

The Court directed the Trial Court to conclude the Trial within 4 months.

Cause Title- Narender @ Lala v. State of NCT of Delhi

Click here to read/download the Judgment