Delhi High Court gives 3 months to trial court to conclude Haryana judicial paper-leak case [4.5.2024]

The Delhi High Court has granted three more months to a trial court to conclude the proceedings in a case relating to the alleged leak of the 2017 Haryana Civil Services (Judicial) preliminary examination paper.

It was earlier directed that the hearing in the matter be taken up on a daily basis.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said the court would appreciate if the principal district and sessions judge, before whom the trial is going on, posts the matter on a day-to-day basis and grants adjournments to the parties only for unavoidable reasons.

The high court had, in January, asked the trial court to expedite the proceedings in the case and take it up on a daily basis.

Pursuant to the last order, the trial court judge submitted a letter to the high court, stating that the case record is voluminous as seven chargesheets have been filed against the accused who are facing trial.

There are 19 accused and 85 witnesses in the case, which is at the stage of defence evidence, the trial court judge said in the letter and sought at least six months for the disposal of the matter.

Special Public Prosecutor Charanjit Singh Bakshi and advocate Amit Sahni, representing the Union Territory of Chandigarh, submitted that despite the high court's directions, the matter was not taken up on a daily basis and urged the court to direct the trial court to do so.

The high court, in its order, said the trial court judge's communication indicates that after the last order, the case has moved ahead.

"This court considers that some more time may be granted in view of the communication of the principal district and sessions judge. However, this court would appreciate if the principal district and sessions judge posts the matter on a day-to-day basis.

"Adjournments may be granted only for some unavoidable reasons. Hence, a further three months' time is granted, excluding the summer vacations. The trial court is directed to dispose of the matter within the above said time-frame," the high court said and listed the matter for further hearing on September 9.

The high court was hearing a plea moved by former registrar (recruitment) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Balwinder Kumar Sharma, who has challenged the trial court's order dismissing his application for the summoning of documents for the cross-examination of a witness.

The high court had said it is a serious matter and asked the parties to cooperate for an expeditious trial before the lower court.

An FIR in the matter involving the paper leak was lodged on a complaint from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2017.

Sharma was suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2017, after the paper leak.

According to the prosecution, the question paper was in the custody of Sharma, the then registrar (recruitment), from the time it was finalised till its dispatch to the examination centre.

It was alleged that a co-accused, Sunita, was known to be in acquaintance with Sharma and the latter had given a copy of the question paper to her, who passed it on to others in return for money.

The high court previously upheld a January 31, 2020 order of a Chandigarh sessions court by which charges were framed against Sharma for the alleged offences of cheating, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

04 May 2024