In the case of RAJEEV GUPTA v. THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH(writ Petition(s)(Criminal) No(s). 2/2022), the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench’s request to transfer a government appeal contesting Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s acquittal in a 22-year-old murder case to the Prayagraj court was denied by the Supreme Court. As an alternative, the bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice Bela M. Trivedi asked the High Court to hear the appeal on November 10, 2022, a date that had been set by the High Court and accepted by Senior Counsel for both sides.
Facts: After the Chief Justice-led Allahabad High Court bench rejected Mishra’s request for the Government’s case to be transferred, he petitioned the Supreme Court. He requested the change of venue on the grounds that the Senior Counsel who is defending him is typically headquartered in Allahabad and that, due to his advanced age, he would be unable to travel to Lucknow for the hearing.
Judgement: In this regard, the Supreme Court noted that the High Court may take into account a request for permitting the Senior Counsel (representing Mishra) to make representations through videoconferencing if he or she is unable to go to Lucknow. It should be recalled that this incident began in 2000, when Prabhat Gupta, a budding student leader, was fatally murdered close to his home. Three people, including Union Minister Teni, were identified as defendants in this case. He was exonerated by the lower Court in 2004. In 2004, the UP Govt filed a High Court petition against the ruling. The appeal was finally heard by a co-ordinate Bench of the High Court on March 12, 2018, and the order was reserved; however, it was released on an application made by the complainant or applicant because the judgement had not been delivered after more than six months and the matter had been ordered to be listed for final hearing. After another four years passed without a final hearing, a request for an early listing of the appeal for a final hearing was made earlier this year. After hearing the case on April 7, the Court ordered that it be scheduled for a final hearing before the proper Bench on May 16, 2022. Despite the Division bench’s directive, the case was postponed at least eight times until October 17 before the ruling could be rendered. The Court will likely finally hear the case on November 10.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SNIGDHA DUBEY