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Delhi HC seeks response from MHA on pendency of NIA cases in special courts

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the current status of the pendency of NIA cases in two specially designated courts at Patiala House, New Delhi.
Justice Jasmeet Singh sought the response during the hearing of the plea moved by Manzer Imam. He is an accused in a terror case under UAPA. The MHA has been directed to file its response within six weeks. The matter has been listed for April 28.
The petitioner was arrested in August 2013. He is in custody for the last nine years. The charges have not been framed against him to date. He is an alleged operative of the Indian Mujahideen (IM).
Earlier, a report was filed stating that 452 non-NIA cases have been transferred to other courts from a specially designated court at Patiala House Court in order to expedite the hearing in NIA cases.
The High Court in July 2022 had called for a status report on the progress of the NIA cases.

The report filed by the Delhi High Court stated that as on July 31, 2022, 4 NIA cases are pending before the Principal District and Sessions Judge Patiala House Court and 39 NIA trial cases are pending before the specially designated NIA court. One appeal is also pending.
The report also stated that 10 NIA cases have been transferred from the court of Principal District and Sessions Judge to the special NIA Court.
Justice Jasmeet Singh on July 15, 2022, issued directions to the Central Government and other respondents to file a further status report.
Earlier, an affidavit was filed on behalf of the respondent in Delhi High Court mentioning the details of the cases pending before the two designated courts dealing with NIA.

The predecessor bench noted that it is evident from the affidavit that in each of the trials, there are a number of accused ranging from 4 to 14 and witnesses nearing 100 to 500 and thus the trials take a considerably long time.
The petitioner Manzer Imam had in 2021 moved the petition stating the delay in the trial due to only two courts in Delhi having been notified as designated courts for the trials under the UAPA thereby resulting in a delay in the trial.
He had sought a direction to the respondents to ensure/notify that special courts under section 11 NIA Act in Delhi should deal exclusively with NIA-investigated schedule offences so that trials can be expedited by besides day-to-day hearings. The petitioner had also sought directions to the Special Court to conclude his trial on day-to-day basis. (ANI)

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