‘Is this some kind of joke?’, asks court after former Minister’s trial conducted through WhatsApp

Former Jharkhand Minister, Yogendra Sao

A former Jharkhand minister, Yogendra Sao and his wife Nirmala Devi’s case witnessed a Hazaribagh lower court judge put the accused on trial by announcing the charges held against them through a WhatsApp call, PTI reported. Both of them had been accused in a 2016 rioting case.

They had been granted bail last year under the condition that they shall stay in Bhopal and not enter Jharkhand except attending the court proceedings.

The court was informed by the accused that the trial judge had announced the charges through a ‘WhatsApp’ call despite raising objections.

A bench consisting of Justice SA Bobde and Justice LN Rao took serious note of the submissions and said, “What is happening in Jharkhand. This process cannot be allowed, and we cannot allow administration of justice to be brought into disrepute.”

“We are here on the way of trial being conducted through WhatsApp. This cannot be done. What kind of a trial is this? Is this a kind of joke?” the bench stated.

A notice was then issued by the bench for the transfer of the case to New Delhi, in accordance with the plea placed by the accused. The state has been asked to respond within two weeks.

The counsel of Jharkhand said that Sao had been violating the conditions of the bail and had traveled out of Bhopal most of the time which was the cause of delays in case proceedings.

The bench responded, “That is a different thing. If you have a problem with violation of bail conditions by the accused, you can file a separate application seeking cancellation of bail. We make it clear that we have no sympathy with those who have violated bail condition.”

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