A plea of two accused in the December 16 gang rape that instead of day-to-day trial, it be held on alternate days, was today rejected by a special court in New Delhi, which also pulled up their lawyers saying such pleas are made to delay the proceedings.
The order came after accused Mukesh and Akshay Singh withdrew another plea that they be provided with the Hindi translation of statements of witnesses recorded so far by Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna in the case.
"Even the prayer that the trial be conducted on alternate days or that the matter be adjourned every time for different dates to enable the counsel to seek instructions from his accused to cross-examine the witnesses, cannot be allowed, as per section 309 (power to postpone or adjourn proceedings) of the CrPC," the court said.
It, however, made it clear that neither the police nor the court intends to come in between the counsel and his clients.
"The court does not intend to come in between the counsel and his client to enable him to seek instructions, hence it would be appropriate if the accused are brought to the lock up at Saket at 11 am everyday, so that the counsel, if they intend to have a legal meeting with them for seeking instructions, can do so....," it said.
During the proceedings, the judge got annoyed over the absence of M L Sharma, the counsel for Mukesh and Akshay. "From last one week, he is not cross-examining the prosecution witnesses. If he does not want to proceed on his part, we will have to move forward. This is delaying tactics.
"Should I refer the matter to the Delhi Legal Services Authority to provide counsel to the accused in the case," the judge said during the hearing.
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan also opposed Sharma's absence in the court and said a last opportunity be given to him. "If he (Sharma) does not come on time from Monday then the court must proceed in the case without him," he said.