HC stays its order to shift 2G case trial to Tihar Jail

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Delhi High Court
New Delhi, Nov 23: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed its order to shift the trial of the 2G spectrum case accused to the high-security Tihar Jail from Patiala House court in the heart of the Capital.

The stay came after the accused in the 2G case, their relatives and lawyers had expressed their unhappiness over Tuesday"s announcement of shifting of the trial. Former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi are among the accused in the case.

The seven-judge administrative committee headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri said the court"s administrative notification on Tuesday to shift the trial will not come into effect and that the hearing will continue in the Patiala House court complex itself till an alternative arrangement is made.

The administrative committee also said a group of high court judges, lawyers and the judge-in-charge of the Patiala House courts will inspect the lower court premises again to explore the possibility of shifting the trial to a more spacious courtroom inside the court complex itself.

Sessions Judge, the judge in-charge of Patiala House Courts, Special CBI Judge O P Saini, Registrar General of the Delhi High Court will be part of the group.

“If such arrangements do not work out, then the committee may also consider to shift the trial to nearby places such as Vigyan Bhawan and Pragati Maidan in the vicinity," one of the lawyers, who was part of the in-chamber hearing on the issue, said outside the courtroom.

The accused in 2G case had approached the high court earlier in the morning, challenging its November 21 notification to shift the trial to Tihar Jail.

Around 15 defence lawyers mentioned the matter before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher and sought its intervention on the decision to shift the trial, saying it would cause a lot of inconvenience to the lawyers and their clients.

“This case is not related to any terrorist activity where there is a security threat. It is only a case of economic offence that does not warrant this decision," one of the defence lawyers had said.

On Tuesday, special judge Saini had announced shifting of the trial to Tihar Jail from November 24.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9 (6) of the CrPC, 1973, the acting Chief Justice and judges of this court (Delhi High Court) have been pleased to order that the trial of the 2G spectrum cases shall be held in Tihar court complex, New Delhi, according to law," the notification, issued by the high court, read.

The decision was opposed by all accused, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi.

“I do not know what is happening in this country. The shifting of the trial to Tihar Jail would create a lot of problems as we will not be able to properly have legal consultation with our counsel.

“Till now, the lawyers could reach Patiala House courts from the Supreme Court or the High Court within 10-15 minutes, but it would not be possible for them to reach Tihar Jail as they would have to leave all their other cases," Raja had said.

PTI

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