Pendency of appeals: SC takes suo moto cognisance to examine guidelines

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Oct 5 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognisance of convicts languishing in jail due to pendency of their appeals in the Allahabad High Court and said it will examine laying down guidelines to release such prisoners on bail.

A bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and M.M. Sundresh noted that the high court has filed an affidavit, where it accepted the government’s suggestions. The bench, however, added that it appears these suggestions could make process of grant of bail more cumbersome, and emphasised that a mechanism should be developed, where accused bail applications are listed without delay for hearing.

It said the high court must explore those cases where convicts have already gone a sentence of eight years, and consider such matter for grant of bail.

The bench said the convict must first move the concerned high court first so that the Supreme Court is not unnecessarily burdened with such matters. It reiterated that when an accused moves the high court, then the matter should be listed promptly. The top court pointed out that in life sentence matters, when a convict has undergone 50 percent of the sentence, then it may be considered as basis for bail.

The bench said: “We grant four weeks to the high court to place before us their policy in this regard.”

“A separate suo motu case can be registered before the court for further directions. We direct the registry to register suo motu proceedings in this regard and place it before the court on November 16,” it said.

Earlier, the high court had made a slew of suggestions to the top court, including that the rights of the victim and his family should be considered before granting bail to an accused in serious and grave offences. The top court had asked the high court and the UP government to jointly discuss the regulation of bail matters during the pendency of the appeals of the convicted persons.

The apex court was hearing 18 criminal appeals filed by convicts in heinous offences seeking bail on the ground that they have spent seven or more years in jail. The petitioners had pointed out that their appeals against the convictions have not listed before the high court due to pendency.


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