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Cash-for-vote case: SC issues notice to CM on plea to transfer trial against him

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court issued a notice on Friday to the Telangana government and the state Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy regarding a plea to relocate the trial for the 2015 cash-for-votes case involving the Congress leader and others. The bench, comprising Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, has given a four-week deadline for a response to the plea filed by GuntaKandla Jagadish Reddy and three others.

The plea argues that transferring the case from Hyderabad to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, is crucial to ensure a fair trial. It asserts that Reddy, the main accused in the 2015 case, now holds the position of Chief and Home Minister for the State of Telangana, with 88 pending criminal cases against him. The plea contends that when the accused exercises direct control over the prosecution, the possibility of a fair trial, a fundamental aspect of Article 21 of the Constitution, is compromised.

Highlighting concerns about judicial fairness and the criminal justice system, the plea warns that if the trial continues in Hyderabad, the rule of law would be compromised, and public confidence in the justice system would be at stake. The two cases subject to the transfer request are titled “Telangana through Addl. Superintendent of Police Vs A Revanth Reddy & Ors” and “Telangana through Addl Superintendent of Police Vs Sandra Venkata Veeraiah,” both pending trial before a special judge in Telangana.

The plea alleges that Reddy, a former member of the Telugu Desam Party, offered a bribe of Rs 50 Lakhs as directed by his former boss Nara Chandra Babu Naidu (former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh) to Elvis Stephenson, the de facto complainant, to influence his vote during the biennial election on 01.06.2015 or to vote in favor of the TDP party.

Population increasing, infrastructure at cremation sites developing at ‘snail’s pace’: Allahabad HC [Read Order]

The Allahabad High Court recently lamented over the deplorable condition of burial and cremation grounds for the growing population in the State. The bench reckoned the horrific situation which peaked during Covid19 pandemic – when proper cremation of the bodies of departed souls was impossible due to serious lack of infrastructure at cremation centres. “The population is increasing day by day but the infrastructure at the cremation sites are being developed at snail’s pace. It is very unfortunate that the common people struggle their whole life for getting proper amenities and even after their last breath
they are deprived of from getting proper cremation facilities. At this stage, we are striving to achieve one trillion economy but still unable to give proper facilities at the cremation centres”

The Court was hearing a plea which brought to light the shabby and dilapidated conditions of crematorium/ cremation sites across the State which lacked basic amenities and infrastructure. In response to the overall poor conditions of crematoriums in the state, the Court had issued an order on November 20, 2023, directing the Secretary of Nagar Vikas Government of UP to respond and provide information on the state government’s policies addressing the issue. Basis which, an affidavit was filed before the Court which stated that since Urban Local Body i.e. Municipalities/ Municipal Corporations are autonomous bodies, it is their duty to ensure the proper maintenance and empowered to take any action in respect of maintenance or to regulate such sites across the State in Gram Panchayats. Noting this, the Court asked for the Addl. Chief Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Government of U.P. as well as the Addl. Chief Secretary, Urban Development, Government of U.P. to be impleaded as parties in the matter.

The Court then directed the State authorities to take concrete steps in this regard. The Bench asked Additional Advocate General M.C. Chaturvedi to communicate this order to the respective officers. If required, the matter may even be placed before the Chief Secretary of the State so that proper solution of this problem may be evolved benefitting the public at large, the Bench said before parting with the order. The next hearing will be on January 18.