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Judge VS Padalkar, who has been hearing the Malegaon Blast case in a Mumbai Court, is set to retire on February 29.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an extension of the tenure of Judge VS Padalkar, who has been hearing the Malegaon Blast case in a Mumbai Court. Judge Padalkar is set to retire on February 29.
The petitioner has been moved by Nisar Ahmed Sayyed Bilal, who lost his son in the 2008 blasts. The petitioner has sought for an extension of the Judge's tenure to ensure that the trial reaches its logical end and is concluded in the near future.
It is pointed out that the trial was delayed by over twelve years and subsequently began only after the Apex Court's intervention and orders passed in 2015.
This Hon'ble Court in its judgment dated 15.04.2015 noticed the delay which has taken place in the trial and with a view to ensure speedy trial, a Presiding Officer was directed to be appointed exclusively for deciding these cases.
Nisar Bilal in his petition
Judge Padalkar was appointed the Presiding Officer to hear the case in April 2018. In October that year, charges had been framed and over 140 witnesses were examined. BJP MP Pragya Thakur is one of the accused.
In this backdrop, it is pointed out that the Judge is familiar with the case. Owing to the voluminous records, should the case be heard by a new Judge after February 29, the same will lead to a great delay in the trial's conclusion, the petition submits. The petitioner adds that a delay of this nature is violative of his fundamental right under Article 21.
In light of the fast approaching retirement date of Judge Padalkar, the petitioner had made a representation before the Bombay High Court with the same prayer for extension of tenure. However since there was no development in this regard in the High Court, the Apex Court has now been moved.
In another high profile case involving political leaders as the accused, the Supreme Court had last year extended the tenure of the Special CBI Judge SK Yadav who was hearing the criminal case in the Babri Demolition case. The Judge's tenure was extended till the completion of the trial.