Source: India West
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has written to the Chief Justices of all High Courts, requesting them to constitute Special Benches on Saturdays for hearing criminal appeals/ jail appeals in which legal assistance has been offered.
The CJI’s letter began with identification of the topic of the increasing backlog of lawsuits due to delay in disposition. “As you are aware, a large bit of criminal appeals/ jail appeals are pending in several High Courts. Delay in disposal of these appeals raises question about the efficacy of the administration of justice as a while and criminal justice system in particular,” the letter said.
Justice Misra then acknowledged that one of the methods to ensure expeditious disposal of such charms is to identify and dispose of such prayers in which legal aid has been provided at State expenses.
“May I, therefore, strike upon you to search the possibility of finding out such criminal appeals/ jail appeals, in which legal-aid-counsel has been provided, on Saturdays by specially constituted Bench for the function, after obtaining consent of the concerned legal-aid counsel and State counsel. This will move a long way in ensuring speedy disposal of criminal appeals/ jail appeals,” Justice Misra wrote.
According to informants, the High Courts of Karnataka, Patna, Chhattisgarh and Orissa have already set about complying with the CJI’s request.
A Bench comprising Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer had also, just last week, expressed “shock” over pendency of criminal appeals for decades. This is a “troubling situation” and a “solution needs to be found out” for rapid disposal of appeals in various High Courts, the Bench had said.
It had then issued notice on the Petition seeking grant of bail to those convicts whose pleas are not likely to be held up for picking up in the near future. The Court had further sought details of the entire number of appeals pending before the High Court’s from the Registrar General within six weeks.
By: Manavi Joshi