Pendency in courts a distressful reality: SC

Team SoOLEGAL 12 Apr 2017 8:09am

Pendency in courts a distressful reality: SC

The Supreme Court has asked the Allahabad High Court to furnish details of criminal appeals pending before it, observing that "the spectre of prolonged pendency for years together is a distressful reality".

The apex court also requested two senior advocates -- C U Singh and Shyam Divan -- "to offer their response and recommendation for outlining specific guidelines based on recorded statistics of pending criminal appeals, to start with, as a pilot project, of the High Court of Allahabad".

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar, A M Sapre and Amitava Roy passed the direction to the registrar general of the Allahabad High Court while hearing a bail application in a murder case.

The apex court, while refusing to grant bail to two convicts in the murder case, directed the high court to decide their appeal against conviction within four months.

"Though the delay in disposal of the trials and appeals, in varying degrees, may be traceable to several causes e.g.

infrastructural, logistical and otherwise, the spectre of prolonged pendency thereof for years together is a distressful reality," the bench said while seeking the information from the high court within four weeks.

It observed that the "phenomenon of mounting pendency and discomfiting delay in disposal of cases, both before the district courts and high courts of the country, has by this time received the attention of this court on umpteen occasions and from time to time in several cases, exhaustive directions of general nature have been issued to ameliorate the situation".

This has been done keeping in view the overwhelming perspective of the right to speedy trial and disposal of criminal appeals as ingrained in Article 21 of the Constitution, it said 

It asked the HC registrar general to furnish details regarding institution and disposal statistics of last 10 years, average disposal time of the appeals, identified causes for the delay, steps already taken and in contemplation for tackling such causes and accelerating disposals.

The bench also sought to know what mechanism was in place to oversee the process and the progress recorded.

It said, "We are of the view that it is imperative for this court to initiate a target specific exercise and for the purpose obtain and analyse the relevant datas at the first instance, with regard to the pendency of the criminal appeals before the Allahabad High Court." 

The court also expressed concern over pitiable condition existing in jails across the country due to delay in the redressal process and said that it leads the inmates to face "dehumanising compulsions".

"Not only the custodial restraint of those detained has to be sanctioned by law, any undue and unjustified delay in the redressal processes initiated by them would have the potential of their detention being adjudged as violative of their constitutionally secured right to fair and speedy justice," it said.


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