The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a registration of suo-moto case to deal with the long pendency of criminal appeals in the Allahabad High Court.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh, ordered the registration of the suo-moto case after, learning that the affidavit filed by the Allahabad High Court are “cumbersome”.
The Bench said there must be a mechanism that if an accused approaches high court, then the bail applications are listed promptly for hearing.
“If an appeal is pending at the high court stage and the convict has undergone eight years of sentence exceptions apart in most cases bail would be the rule. Despite that the cases don’t come up for consideration. we are not clear how much time is taken for such bail matters to be listed,” the Bench noted.
Chief Justice N V Ramana had directed the Home Secretary of Uttar Pradesh government to either file an affidavit giving details such as the number of adjournments taken by the convict before the high court or be ready to appear in person after the state counsel blamed the convict for the delay.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to a man who was accused of burning his wife to death, on the ground of delay in hearing on his 2016 appeal.
“We know the long pendency of criminal cases there. And because of no effective hearing, we are disposing of the appeal and granting him the bail,” the bench said.
Over 1,83,000 criminal appeals pending both at Lucknow bench and Allahabad High Court.
There are over 7,214 convicts in various jails across Uttar Pradesh as of August 2021. Most of them have undergone more than 10 years of their conviction and their criminal appeals are pending before the High Court.
“We note that there may be convicts in custody in life sentence cases and in such cases when 50 percent of sentence is undergone it can be the basis of grant of bail. We grant 4 weeks to High Court to place before us the policy in this regard.”
Senior Advocate Viraj Datar stated that the High Court has decided to proceed with the suggestions submitted by the government.
The Supreme Court had earlier advised the government and the officials of Allahabad High Court to sit together and give suggestions for regulating the matters of bail applications.
The Suggestions given by the apex court are as follows:
- In cases of serious and grave offences, rights of the victim and his family should be considered before granting bail to an accused.
- The Court suggested that a ‘victim impact assessment’ report should be obtained after consulting the victim and the report should clearly state all concerns along with vital information on physical, mental and social impact of the crime.
- To check the past conduct of the criminal and his criminal history.
On the other hand, the government had suggested the Supreme Court that bail pleas of life convicts, can be considered by the High Court if they have undergone 10 years of jail term and in other cases where half of the period of the maximum sentence awarded have been spent.
The UP Government also said that to ensure public peace and well being of the society, life criminals who are repeat offenders, kidnappers, habitual criminals and fall in prohibited categories as per the U.P. Jail standing policy, then no bail should be granted to the criminal.