11 Feb 2023 8:14 AM GMT
The Patna High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) dealing with the issue of effective implementation of Chapter XXI-A of the Cr.P.C that pertains to the disposal of the criminal cases through ‘plea bargaining’. The division bench of the Acting Chief Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Partha Sarthy directed the...
The Patna High Court on Friday issued a slew of directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) dealing with the issue of effective implementation of Chapter XXI-A of the Cr.P.C that pertains to the disposal of the criminal cases through ‘plea bargaining’.
The division bench of the Acting Chief Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Partha Sarthy directed the Member Secretary, Bihar State Legal Services Authority, Patna (BSLSA) to present before the court a concrete proposal on how the BSLSA proposes to proceed with regard to the following issues:
The court said exercise of legal education or legal awareness can be undertaken not only through workshops in the jail premises, but also in the concerned court premises, ADR building and other suitable places.
Pendency Of Cases
Advocate Shama Sinha, who represents the petitioner, placed before the court the data available on National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) as on 23.01.2023:
Awaiting for documents
Difficulty in securing presence of important witness
Frequent challenge to interim/interlocutory
LRs or new parties could not be brought on
Miscellaneous application delaying the
process of the main case
Non availability of Counsel
Number of witness is more than 20
Obstructions in service of process in
execution of decree
One or more accused absconding/not
Parties not interested – Infructuous litigation
Record not available for the reason
Stayed by Court other than Supreme Court or
High Court (District Court/Other Court)
Stayed by High Court
Stayed for other reasons
The court said the data is truly alarming and after it is verified from the actual records, it will consider passing appropriate orders. It also noted that certain doubts have been raised at the Bar about the correctness of the figures compared to the actual figure
"In the said data, it is mentioned that there are 720621 cases pending because of non-availability of counsel. In order to deal with the said item, we direct the Member Secretary, Bihar State Legal Services Authority to seek reports through the respective Secretaries of the District Legal Service Authorities as regards such criminal cases, which are pending because of non-availability of learned counsel. The Bihar State Legal Services Authority shall be thereafter required to compile the figures received from the District Legal Service Authorities for presenting the same before this Court," it said
The court observed that DLSAs would be required provide legal aid to those accused persons who do not have any legal counsel representation.
The bench also directed the Chairpersons of all the DLSAs to examine the cases which are pending because the parties have lost interest and they have become infructuous and thereafter communicate the obtained figures to the Member Secretary, BSLSA Patna.
"Bihar State Legal Services Authority shall in its report submit a composite statement of such cases, i.e., cases which have become infructuous for any reason in the opinion of the concerned Chairperson of the District Legal Service Authority," it ordered.
Advocate General of Bihar, P. K. Sahi highlighted the criminal cases which are pending before the criminal courts for 20 years or more. He said it is likely that most of them would have lost their purpose.
In this regard, the court directed the District Judges to give the details of such Criminal cases which are pending since 2005 and before, and submit the information to BSLSA for preparation of composite reports.
"The District Judges shall also be required to inform through the Legal Services Authority as to in how many criminal cases, the proceedings are not moving forward because of any interim order passed by any court giving the details of such cases and the specific interim orders passed with reference to the Courts, which have passed such orders," it added.
The court also said that Joint Secretary, BSLSA, Dhriti Jasleen Sharma would be required to actively coordinate in the entire exercise and while submitting the reports/data by way of affidavit, she would be required to briefly interpret the outcome of such data.
The court listed the matter for hearing on March 03.
Case Title: Kaushik Ranjan v. The State of Bihar & Ors.
Coram: The Chief Justice (Acting) Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Partha Sarthy
Click Here to Read/Download Order