Builders only understand colour of money or jail term, says SC, holds firm guilty of contempt

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The claim of the Uttar Pradesh government accusing a man, convicted for killing his wife, of delaying hearing on his appeal before the Allahabad High Court Wednesday prompted the Supreme Court to seek an affidavit from the state Home Secretary by Friday on details such as the number of adjournments taken by the convict.

“Please do not make impossible statements. I know the state (of affairs) in Uttar Pradesh,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said.

The observation came when the counsel, appearing for the state government, said the criminal appeal of one Pintu Saini against his conviction has been pending since 2016 in the high court and the hearing has been adjourned several times at the instance of his counsel.

The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, asked lawyer Shantanu Singh, appearing for the state, to ensure filing of the affidavit of the Home Secretary and listed the plea for hearing on Friday.

The bench, in its order, noted that the counsel for the state government submitted that the petitioner had taken a number of adjournments when his criminal appeal was listed.

On the other hand, the counsel for the convict denied such a contention claiming that even the “Criminal Appeal Paper Book” has not yet been prepared in the High Court.

“Under the circumstances, we direct Home Secretary to the State of UP to file an affidavit on or before October 1, 2021, indicating therein (i) as to how many times the Criminal Appeal filed by the petitioner is listed, (ii) as to how many times learned counsel who appeared for the petitioner before the High Court has taken adjournments, (iii) as to whether the Criminal Appeal filed by the petitioner before the High Court has reached for hearing or not and (iv) whether the Paper Books in the said matter have been prepared or not,” the order said.

The bench also made it clear that if the officer fails to file the affidavit on or before October 1, “he shall have to appear personally before us on October 1.”

The bench was hearing the appeal of Saini, who was convicted and sentenced in 2016 by the trial court for burning his spouse to death, against the denial of bail by the High Court on February 27, 2018.

“Learned AGA (state counsel) has strongly opposed the prayer for bail with the contention that the applicant is the husband and he has been convicted under Section 302 IPC, cause of death of the wife of the appellant is burn injuries. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, we do not find it a fit case for bail. The bail application moved on behalf of appellant is hereby rejected at this stage,” the high court had ordered.