New Delhi, April 4, 2022: Expressing concern that a large number of appeals are pending in the Allahabad High Court, the Supreme Court has observed that Court orders which instead of examining bail merely reject it on the ground that the appeal itself should be heard appear to serve no purpose and such approach to bail matters is causing a further strain on the Court.
The Apex Court has also directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to examine this issue in the context of policies as prevalent in other States and the huge backlog of the criminal cases in UP both at the trial and High Court stage as also the fact that the appeals are not taken up for hearing for years together.
“We really cannot appreciate the approach of the High Court in rejecting the bail application with a simple sentence that the appeal should be heard while hearing of the appeal looks almost an impossibility,” a Bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh observed. “It has happened in Allahabad High Court once again!” it remarked.
The Bench was hearing a plea wherein the bail application of the appellant was rejected by the order dated December 12, 2019 stating that the paper books should be prepared within two weeks and case be listed immediately thereafter for hearing. Thereafter, the appellant moved the application for listing thrice and it was listed on October 25, 2021 and was not taken up, the SC was informed.
“Thus, orders which instead of examining bail merely rejected on the ground that the appeal itself should be heard appears to serve no purpose because of the large number of appeals pending in the Allahabad High Court. The approach to bail matters is causing a further strain on the Court. This is not the only case of this kind which we have seen,” the Bench observed.
The Top Court noted that the appellant in this case has undergone more than 14 years of actual sentence and 16 years with remission while the appeal is pending for seven years.
“Even if the date of the order of the High Court is taken into account which is about a little more than two years ago, the appellant would have spent about 12 years in custody by then and if the appeal is pending, we see no reason why in this kind of a single incident case, bail should not be granted,” it said.
The Supreme Court recalled that Aishwarya Bhati, ASG for the State of UP had assured that due to election process it was not possible to take up the revisiting of the policy but post-election, the needful would be done.
“We expect the State to examine this issue more so in the context of policies as prevalent in other States and the huge backlog of the criminal cases in the State of Uttar Pradesh both at the trial and High Court stage as also the fact that the appeals are not taken up for hearing for years together,” the Bench said.
“Thus if a practical approach is adopted by the State to see at least the remission is examined after 14 years of actual sentence, some of these appellants may be satisfied with that aspect itself instead of prosecuting the appeal,” it added.
The Bench further said “…this is a incorrect approach being adopted and we grant bail to the appellant on terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the trial Court. Insofar as the aspect of remission of sentence is concerned, the case of the appellant can be examined once the policy has been revisited and if the appellant falls within the policy”.
The Top Court further directed that the order be placed before the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and also be circulated to the Judges of the Allahabad High Court “so that we can see some change in the approach which, apart from providing succor to the people in long detention, would prevent unnecessary load coming on to this Court”.