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Bill to empower govt tabled

Shillong, June 11: A bill empowering the government to declare offences to be referred to “special courts” was tabled today in the Meghalaya Assembly by the Mukul Sangma government.

Deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh, who is also in charge of the law department, introduced the Meghalaya Special Courts Bill, 2014 aimed for the constitution of special courts “for speedy trial of any offences perpetrated against any person.”

“The state government shall, for the purpose of speedy trial of any offences, in consultation with the Meghalaya high court, establish as many courts as considered necessary to be called Special Courts,” the bill stated.

The court will be presided over by a judge belonging to the Meghalaya Judicial Services, and nominated by the high court.

The bill also provides ample powers to the state government to declare the cases to be dealt by the special courts.

“If the state government is of the opinion that there is prima facie evidence of the commission of an offence alleged to have been committed by a person that should be tried by a Special Court, it will make a declaration to that effect in every case,” the bill added.

However, such declaration “shall not be called in question in any court.”

The chargesheet of any offence to be tried by a special court would have to be completed within 60 to 90 days. The court will also have to try in disposing of the trial of cases within one year from the date of its institution or transfer.

Against a judgment and sentence passed by the Special Court, an appeal can be placed before the high court within 30 days from the date of passing of the judgment and sentence. The high court can transfer cases from one special court to another.

“A special court shall not adjourn any trial for any purpose unless such adjournment is, in its opinion, necessary,” the bill stated.

The bill also stated that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings would lie against any authority for anything done in “good faith”.

Lyngdoh, in a statement affixed with the bill, said it has become “necessary” to have special courts in Meghalaya to deal cases exclusively allotted to it for speedy trial and end of justice as the normal courts are already burdened with various cases.

“A law is required to have more courts to provide fast track trials in cases, and the crimes are nipped in the bud,” he stated.