With the Supreme Court ordering Kanimozhi to re-apply for bail after the framing of charges, all eyes are now on the special Court of OP Saini in Patiala House courts of Delhi.
The Supreme Court’s intention to effectively post-pone the bail hearing was visible a week ago, when a different bench heard the bail plea for the first time.
The vacation bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar had shown an inclination to go deeper into the case technicalities compared to the High Court, which had dismissed the bail plea ruling against the request. The bench had, at the first hearing a week ago, asked the CBI to come up with the exact stage at which Kanimozhi’s trial was in Patiala house courts.
It also asked the CBI to spell out the exact nature of charges against her, instead of relying on what CBI was saying verbally. In other words, the Court wanted affirmation of the serious charges made against Kanimozhi by CBI and did not want to deny bail based merely on unsubstantiated allegations.
“The only way to make sure that the allegations are valid, at least on a prima facie basis, is to see if the trial court has included the allegations in the charges that it frames against Kanimozhi,” pointed out a criminal lawyer who follows the case regularly.
Framing of charges is the second stage of a trial, and is done after the Judge feels comfortable that the allegations are maintainable. On the other hand, if, after the preliminary hearing — usually of a single day — the Judge feels that no case is being made out at all, he can simply throw the case out.
In Kanimozhi’s case, several hearings have taken place, but the Judge is yet to frame the charges. However, going by his denial of bail to Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar on the basis of the magnitude of the alleged crimes, the Judge is unlikely to throw the case out.
However, as legal experts point out, what charges are slapped on Kanimozhi by the Judge will depend on the kind of preliminary evidence and arguments that CBI can present in front of the Court. “We would have expected the Court to have framed charges already.. but since this is a complicated matter, I think the Judge is taking his time,” pointed out a lawyer.
It has been nearly two months since the CBI filed its charge-sheet in the Patiala House court of judge OP Saini.