The Madras High Court observed that the Section 309 CrPC puts a check on unnecessary postponement of cases but doesn't completely ban it.

The Court said thus while it transferred a criminal case of an accused suffering from cancer to another Special Court for CBI Cases in Chennai considering the balance of convenience.

The accused, a public servant, faced charges under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on the allegation that he possessed more than 80% disproportionate assets in comparison to his known sources of income.

The accused sought for postponement of the trial under Section 309 Cr.P.C. citing medical grounds. The Trial Judge dismissed the same and proceeded with the trial stating that the petition was filed to delay the trial. Consequently, the accused filed a petition before the High Court to transfer the case to some other competent court.

A Single Bench of Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira acknowledged the “necessity of elimination of delay in the disposal of criminal cases” as outlined by the trial judge and held that “due care needs to be exercised to prevent undue speed or haste in the matter of disposal, because it would result into unfair play.

Advocate T. Sivananthan represented the petitioner, while Spl. PP K. Srinivasan appeared for the respondents.

The Court remarked, “the Trial Judge was apprised of the illness being suffered by the petitioner and on that ground, postponement of the case was sought for. However, the Trial Judge had proceeded with the trial after declining such a request only on the basis of the embargo in the legal provisions.

The Court explained that Section 309 CrPC puts a check on unnecessary postponement of cases but doesn't completely ban it. Moreover, postponement is allowed if valid reasons or circumstances beyond the control of the party exist, as long as they are properly recorded.

The Court recognised that “the petitioner had developed an apprehension that his interest could be prejudiced if the trial is proceeded before the same Judicial Officer.” The Court further noted the Trial Judge was “guided only by the sole intention of speedy trial without any bias and slightly overlooking the genuineness of the plea of the petitioner for postponement of the trial.

Accordingly, the Court withdrew and transferred the case to the Special Court for CBI Cases, Chennai.

Cause Title: Dr. A. Paramasivan v. State & Anr.

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