Supreme Court: On being appraised of high number of pending bail applications in 10-14 years old cases, the Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh, JJ., directed the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court to decide all the cases in one go. The Bench directed,
“We would like a closure to all these matters of bail before the next date as the matters are directed to be taken up in one go.”
The Court had called a report from the Registrar of the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court with regard to the submission that no criminal Bench available in the Court to hear matters for the last 25 days. Though the report suggested that the factual position was not what had been alleged, it also highlighted the number of convicts in jail for more than 14 years and 10 years whose appeals are pending consideration. The Court remarked,
“What is of concern to us is cases which are pending for 10 years and 14 years in appeal, where bail applications are also pending and some of them are in incarceration even without pending bail applications as they may have been disposed of.”
On the submission of the High Court that in single offence cases, the matters are referred for remission after 14 years of actual incarceration and 20 years with remission, the Court expressed,
“We see no reason why these cases are not dealt with in one go by asking the State Government to take a stand in respect of such cases which are single offence cases and pending for 10 years or more and unless there are special circumstances, all of them can be enlarged on bail.”
To clear the backlog of some appeals, the Court directed that as far as cases which meet the norms of remission, the State Government, irrespective of pendency of the appeal, should be forthwith asked to take a call on the plea of remission as it may also facilitate posting all of the matters at one go. Further, the Court suggested that the counsels appearing for the convicts could be asked whether they would be satisfied with cases being considered for remission or would also like to urge the matter in appeal.
Noticeably, as on 22-04-2022, there were 159 convicts incarcerated for more than 14 years and 191 convicts incarcerated for 10-14 years 191, whose bail applications were pending in the High Court; making it a total of 350 pending bail applications.
Consequently, the Court directed to reach a closure to all those matters of bail before the next date as the matters were directed to be taken up in one go. The matter is listed on 25-07-2022 for directions.
[Suleman v. State of U.P., Misc. Application No.764 of 2022 in Cr. A. No.491 of 2022, decided on 09-05-2022]
For Petitioner(s): Mohd. Irshad Hanif, AOR and Aarif Ali, Mujahid Ahmad, Rizwan Ahmad, Advocates
For Respondent(s): AOR Ajay Vikram Singh and Nikhil Goel, Naveen Goel, Priyanka Singh, Ajay Kumar Prajapati, Narender Rana, Neelambar Jha, Advocates