The 12-year-old Nitish Katara murder case has cost the state exchequer Rs 5.86 crore including nearly Rs 75 lakh spent on the security and upkeep of three convicts Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehelwan, Delhi High Court said on Friday.
“The total expenditure incurred on this case by the exchequer is Rs 5.86 crores”, a bench of justices Geeta Mittal and J R Midha said.
The court observed that as per Jail Administration data, the expenses incurred in boarding and lodging of the three convicts in jail during trial and thereafter was Rs 35.6 lakh while Rs 39.95 lakh were spent in their transportation, security and manpower from jail to court and hospitals during trial and thereafter.
Relying on the report of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to probe the expenses incurred during the case besides other details, the bench noted that a total of Rs 3.89 crore was spent in providing protection to the prosecution witnesses including victim’s mother, brother and cousin.
“Total expenditure in the witness protection comes to Rs 3.89 crores which includes expenses incurred by Delhi Police for providing protection to victim’s mother Neelam Katara and brother Nitin Katara which was Rs 1.27 crores,” it said.
The bench also noted that protection provided to prosecution witness and Nitish’s relative Ajay Katara by the UP police, had costed Rs 62 lakh.
Besides the relatives of the victim, a total of Rs two crore were spent in providing protection to Special Public Prosecutor B S Joon, as per report from DCP (Security), it said.
The court observed that the time and cost spent in the case should be known to the general public as well as functionaries of the judiciary.
“General public as well as functionaries of judiciary are supposed to know” how much each day every court spends out of the exchequer. “This would go a long way to send a message across the Bar, Bench and the Public that unwarranted adjournments deserve to be curtailed and contained at any cost,” it observed.
“There is also urgent need to have a system whereby time spent by each court on a particular case in hour/minute format shall be recorded. This practice would also go a long way to access the costing of each trial individually,” it said.
It noted that the two trials — Sukhdev was tried separately– were listed on 377 dates while the three appeals of the convicts were heard for 107 days in the high court.
The bench noted that during the 12-year-long period of the case, the total approximate expenditure incurred by UP government to represent the state in trial court and high court came out to be Rs 46.71 lakh which was paid to the special public prosecutors.
The bench, however, said that estimation of expenditure incurred “is admittedly a rough estimation”, which in the noted circumstances, “recovery of full estimated amount cannot be based thereon or ordered to be recovered from defendants”.