Lawyers acting on behalf of the Australian government have demanded action against defence counsel for hit-run driver Puneet Puneet after repeatedly holding up closing arguments in the extradition hearing.
Puneet was a 19-year-old learner driver when he killed Dean Hofstee in 2008, but fled to India while out on bail.
He was arrested five years ago, on his wedding day, and has been facing drawn-out extradition hearings to determine if he should be sent back to Melbourne.
Lawyers for the Australian High Commission in Delhi, Puneet himself and some of his relatives waited at the Patiala District Court on Tuesday for arguments to proceed, but the court was told that lead defence counsel, Kanhaiya Kumar Singhal, was occupied at the nearby Supreme Court.
Despite phone calls made by Puneet's relatives and the clerk of the court, and a waiting period allowed by the judge, Singhal could not be reached and the case was adjourned yet again.
"This date was chosen at their issuance. This keeps going on and on," Bhaskar Vali, on behalf of the Union of India, which handles extradition matters, said.
Puneet's defence has delayed proceedings multiple times in the case, which has dragged on for nearly four years through the Indian courts.
At a hearing in December the court was told Singhal was absent as he was suffering "from jaundice" - despite Vali saying he had seen the defence lawyer that day.
The defence has also repeatedly cited Puneet's mental health as an issue, although he was declared cerebrally-fit to stand trial in December.
"We are all here", said Vali.
"How can they not be here when they chose the date? We request that the case proceed."
However, Judge Gurmohina Kaur said that despite the circumstances it was not right that arguments continue without Puneet having access to legal counsel.
But she admitted the case had been delayed too many times.
"This matter has to end", she said.
The next hearing is set for May 2nd.
Australian Associated Press