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‘Frivolous appeal’ – SC imposes Rs 10,000 cost on Sanjiv Bhatt for challenging Gujarat HC order to finish trial quickly in a 22-year-old case

Appearing for the State of Gujarat, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh informed the Court that Bhatt’s plea for extension in High Court was dismissed, and the accused suppressed that information.

On February 20, the Supreme Court of India imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for challenging a Gujarat High Court order directing the trial court to complete a 22-year-old drug-planting case against Bhatt by March 31. A two-judge bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice Aravind Kumar called Bhatt’s petition ‘absolutely frivolous’ while imposing the costs.

In the order, the Court said that the former IPS officer could have cooperated with the trial court for expeditious disposal of the case. The Court added it was up to the trial court if the extension could have been granted in the case or not.

The Court said, “The petitioner, rather than approaching this Court, ought to have cooperated with the trial court for expeditious disposal. The grant of an extension is a matter for the trial court. The petition is found to be absolutely frivolous, and costs of ₹10,000 are imposed.” Notably, Bhatt is currently in detention in relation to the drug-planting case.

Senior Advocate Devadutt Kamat, appearing for Bhatt, informed the Court that 16 out of 60 witnesses have been examined to date. He argued that if the trial had to be completed by March 31, the defense would not be able to present its argument. He further sought extensions in the case. Appearing for the State of Gujarat, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh informed the Court that Bhatt’s plea for extension in High Court was dismissed, and the accused suppressed that information. Kamat claimed the alleged suppression was not deliberate, but the apex court found it “difficult to believe”.

The Court said, “We do not find that there was any cause for the petitioners to approach this Court. Shri Kamat, though, submits that the non-revealing of the dismissed SLPs was not deliberate. It is difficult to believe such submission.”

Furthermore, the apex court rejected Sanjiv Bhatt’s plea seeking permission to produce additional evidence in the High Court. Bhatt wanted to submit additional evidence in a plea challenging conviction in the case related to custodial death. The final hearing, in that case, will soon begin in the High Court.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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