In a recent order, the Supreme Court has directed the Registry to ensure that all cases filed before it against an acquittal must mention the period of custody undergone by the accused.
The order was issued by a Bench comprising Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit.
Accused persons languishing in jails for years has been an issue of concern for the Supreme Court for a while now. It had, in fact, recently directed the Centre to suggest remedies for ensuring that criminal appeals are heard within a reasonable time.
"Thus it appears necessary to explore the suggestion whether there can be an alternative fora for hearing of appeals by adopting suitable legislative or administrative measures to effectuate the mandate of fundamental right under Article 21. We, accordingly, issue notice to the learned Attorney General to assist this Court on the question as to what can be remedies to ensure hearing of criminal appeals within a reasonable time," the Bench comprising had Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit observed.
The Times of India had also recently quoted sources according to which Chief Justice Dipak Misra has pressed the Supreme Court and High Courts to expeditiously hear cases pending for more than five years and decide on appeals filed by people lodged in jails for a similar period.
To this end, Justice Misra, who is the Chief Patron of the National Legal Services Authority, has addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of all High Courts, providing them with a guiding framework to deal with the large number of criminal appeals and jail appeals pending in these courts.