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Old age and long distance travel not valid grounds for transfer of Case

Whether old age of the accused and long distance travel difficulty, can be a ground to transfer a criminal case? Madras High Court, in a recent order, observed that such concerns are not a valid ground for transferring a case. The accused, in a corruption case, had sought transfer of Trial from a Court situated 1000 kilometres away from his place of residence, on the ground of his inconvenience on account of his age as well as his present place of residence. The Prosecution contested his plea on the ground that case has become part-heard and some witnesses have already been examined. Justice P.Devadass observed: “it is quite natural in the present set up, he has to undergo some inconvenience. But, the Court has to see whether by this his defence is prejudiced. He has engaged a counsel to defend himself. Except the stated inconvenience, there is no bottleneck for defending himself as against the charges levelled against him. On account of the said inconvenience, we cannot transfer the case, because it does not appear to be a valid ground.” The High Court, however, gave liberty to the petitioner to file a petition before the Special Judge for dispensing with his personal appearance when really his attendance is not required. The Court added: “When his presence is really not necessary for making progress in the case, why should we trouble him. Therefore, we are of the view that when the case is posted only for ordinary hearing, even for examination of witnesses when his counsel is present, why we should trouble the accused. These considerations shall weigh in the mind of the learned Special Judge when a petition is filed for dispensing with his personal appearance.”

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Author: A Pasayat
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