CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Tuesday gave voice to popular adage ‘justice delayed is
denied’ while acquitting two people of
32 years after they had appealed against the trial court verdict, reports Lalmohan Patnaik.
and Madhaba Behera were charged with murder during a clash over sharing of a jamun tree at Dighi of
on February 18, 1986. Both were convicted by the trial court on July 21, 1988.
The sessions court sentenced Nityananda to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, while Madhaba was sentenced to six months’ RI. Both filed a criminal appeal. Admitting it on August 26, 1988, the high court had on the same day directed their release on bail.
While finding the trial court verdict not sustainable in the eye of law, Justice Sangam Kumar Sahoo on Tuesday observed, “In view of the glaring inconsistencies in the evidence…, I am of the humble view that it is a fit case where benefit of the doubt should be extended in favour of the appellants.” He added: “Before parting with the case, I am reminded of the oft-quoted legal maxim ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. Right to speedy trial is a fundamental right. Appeal is a continuation of trial. After fighting the legal battle for more than 32 years, the appellants have won the case.”