An application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1974 (hereinafter referred as “Cr.P.C”) filed by a person who is in no way connected with the criminal proceeding or a criminal trial cannot ordinarily be entertained by the High Court, the Supreme Court observed on 16.12.2020 in the case of Sanjai Tiwari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (Criminal Appeal No. 869 of 2020).

In this case, the Appellant, Sanjai Tiwari was accused of various offences under Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act. Allowing an application filed by a person who claimed to be a social activist and an Advocate by profession, the High Court directed the trial court to expedite the criminal trial and conclude the same at the earliest. Against this order, the accused approached the Apex Court contending that the applicant before the High Court had no locus to file such an application before the High Court.

The court observed that, criminal trials where offences are involved under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, have to be conducted and concluded at the earliest since the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 are offences which affects not only the accused but the entire society and administration. It is also well settled that the High Court in appropriate cases of S. 482 of Cr.P.C or in any other proceeding can always direct trial court to expedite the criminal trial and issue such order as may be necessary, the bench headed by Ashok Bhushan said.

However, the court noted that the applicant before the High Court was in no way connected with the initiation of criminal proceeding against the accused. The bench observedas follows, “An application by a person who is in no way connected with the criminal proceeding or criminal trial under S. 482 Cr.P.C cannot ordinarily be entertained by the High Court. A criminal trial of an accused is conducted in accordance with procedure as prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code. It is the obligation of the State and the Prosecution to ensure that all criminal trials are conducted so expeditiously so that justice can be delivered to ere the accused if found guilty. The present is not a case where prosecution or even the employer of the accused has filed an application either before the trial court or in any other court seeking direction as prayed by Respondent No. 2 in his application under S. 482 of Cr.P.C.”

While setting aside the High Court order, the bench clarified that it will be open for the trial court to expedite the criminal trial, the offences being the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, subject to any order passed by the High Court in pending proceedings.

Order: Sanjai Tiwari vs. State of UP & Anr