Special Courts are constituted for speedy trial, says petitioner
Bench asks Government to set right an error in notification
MADURAI: Special Courts, notified under the Electricity Act, can directly take cognisance of offences, without expecting judicial magistrates to commit the case to them, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice G. Rajasuria was disposing of a petition filed by an Executive Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.
The engineer was aggrieved by the Madurai Principal District and Sessions Court’s refusal to take cognisance of a case filed against three persons accused of evading payment of electricity tariff.
Drawing an analogy, the judge pointed out that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Human Rights Act specifically stated that a Sessions Court shall perform the functions of a special court. But there was no such specific provision under the Electricity Act.
“Simply because the District and Sessions Court also could be designated as a Special Court [under the Electricity Act] by the State… it does not mean that the Special Court should have all the trappings of the Sessions Court,” Mr. Justice G. Rajasuria said.
He agreed with the petitioner’s counsel, M. Patturajan, that Special Courts were constituted for speedy trial and to ensure that the offenders did not go scot-free or indulge in dilatory tactics by taking undue advantage of the Sessions Court procedures.
On October 5, 2006, the Government notified a set of Sessions Courts across the State as Special Courts to try electricity-related offences.
In the notification, the title should have been “names of the Special Courts” instead of “names of the Sessions Courts.”
“I would expect in the interest of justice that the Government take note of my observation and pass corrigendum to that effect,” the judge said.
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