Pension and gratuity withheld
I am a retired employee of UP govt. A trap case(criminal case) is pending against me in the court for last 20 years. My pension and gratuity has been withheld by the department saying the same cannot be issued if any case is pending against me. Kindly advice how to proceed?
You have not stated at what stage the criminal case is pending against you for last 20 years and the reasons for its pendency.
However, since 20 years have passed, I am sure the chargesheet has already been framed and in such situation a quashing petition u/s482 CrP.C. would not help you on the grounds of delay in prosecution.
Normally, Supreme Court has frowned upon quashing a criminal case on the grounds of delay in prosecution and has even in earlier cases declined to set a time line to quash the FIR based on grounds of delay. In a noted case of AR Antulay and RS Nayak, it was held that it would not be in the interest of justice to set out a timeline for quashing of criminal case, especially in cases of Corruption and heinous crimes. However, An expeditious trial is primarily in the interest of the accused and a mandate of Article. 21 of the Constitution. Expeditious disposal of a criminal case is in the interest of both, the prosecution and the accused. But quashing a FIR/criminal case before trial has concluded is not the right of accused anymore in cases of delay.
Since you have not mentioned why it has taken 20 years for the courts to pass the judgment, I refrain from commenting on that aspect. Suffice to say that a delay on part of the accused is there in most criminal trials and hence the superior courts would not look at favorably quashing the case – just on the grounds of delay in delivering the judgment
In such a situation, the only option is to file an application in the trial court for speedy trial as this is a right of the accused enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution. Don’t accept any adjournments and protest against any adjournments given to the prosecution at time of their evidence. Complete the Section 313 CrPC formalities and your defense evidence quickly and apply pressure on the judge to deliver the judgment at the earliest by presenting yourself at every date before the trial judge and by not seeking any exemption from personal appearance.
In my view the trial court is seized of the matter and hence you need to pursue the trial court to deliver the judgment quickly. Approaching superior courts to quash the case on grounds of delay would be of no use.
You may go through the judgment of the Supreme Court in CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.854 OF 2011 - SIRAJUL & ORS. …APPELLANTS VERSUS THE STATE OF U.P. & ANR. …RESPONDENTS where the above points of speedy trial vs quashing has been discussed in detail. The case also highlights previous other cases where the Courts have not quashed trials for delay.
You may However, approach the high court by filing a writ petition or u/s 482 Cr.P.C. ONLY TO seek directions to the trial court to complete the trial and pass judgment within a stipulated time. Else, your remedy lies in the trial court itself to clear your name of all accusations (get acquitted) and be eligible for your retiral benefits.
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