Nowshera acid attack: Court puts accused on trial

Srinagar: A court here on Thursday put on trial two youths, accused of throwing acid on a 22-year-old law student here last year.
“On the basis of material produced by the investigating agency, I am of the opinion that there is a ground to presume that the accused have committed (the) offence,” Principal Sessions Judge Srinagar Rashid Ali Dar said while charging the duo— Irshad Ahmad Wani alias Sunny and Mohammad Omar— under RPC sections of 326A (voluntarily throwing acid), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
Under Section 326A RPC, an accused if convicted can be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to life. It further provides that accused shall also be liable to pay compensation adequate to meet at least the medical expenses incurred by the victim. Sections 120B and 201 provide for separate punishments.
The law student was grievously injured in the attack near Nowshehra on the outskirts of this summer capital city on December 11 last year. Police filed FIR (136/2014) at police station Soura and started investigation. A fortnight after the attack, the duo was arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident.
While charging the duo, the court turned down the argument by their counsel that no sufficient grounds exist for proceeding against the duo as “mere fallacy.” The judge also rejected the contention by counsel for Omar regarding offence u/s 201 RPC as misconceived.
The counsel, advocate Yawar Khan had submitted that offence u/s 201 RPC cannot be attributed to the accused as the word “whoever” occurring in the relevant section would be attracted viz-a-viz the person other than the principal accused.
“The purpose of charge is to tell accused person as precisely and concisely as possible of the matter with which he is charged and conveyed him with sufficient clearness and certainty what the prosecution intends to prove against him and of which he will have to clear himself. Framing of charge is vital to a criminal trial and so has to be carefully attended,” the court said and gave a detailed summer y about the principles which govern framing of charge against the accused or discharge.
“The Judge while considering the question of framing the charge has the undoubted power to sift weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out. The test to determine prima facie case would depend upon the facts of each case,” the court said.
The court, the judge said, cannot act merely as post office or a mouthpiece of the prosecution but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the court.
“However, at this stage, there cannot be a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and the evidence weighed as if trial has been concluded”.
The court charged the duo when they pleaded not guilty after the charge sheet was read over to them.
The case has been listed for the trial on May 5 as the high court has already directed “the competent Court of jurisdiction (to) take all steps for conducting of expeditious trial”.
Public Prosecutor Abdul Aziz Teeli was present on behalf of prosecution while the accused were defended by advocates Abid Banday and Yawar Khan.