RTI Activist Saket Gokhale has filed an RTI with Supreme Court of India, asking about the number of pending interim bail applications before it and the average time taken for listing of such applications.
He has asked:
- Please state the current backlog/number of cases of interim bai! Applications pending with the Registry of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India that haven't had a first listing yet as on 12/11/2020/
- Please state the average waiting period between filing of interim bail applications with the Registry and their listing in front of the appropriate Hon'ble Bench.
The development is significant in the backdrop of urgent listing of the special leave petition filed by Arnab Goswami, seeking a relief of interim bail against his arrest in the 2018 abetment to suicide case.
The Republic TV Chief had filed the petition on November 9, challenging the November 9 order of the Bombay High Court which denied the accused interim bail in the habeas corpus petitions filed by them challenging their custody.
Thereafter, it got instant diary number (though not final) and it was listed for hearing on November 11.
The President of the SCBA, Dushyant Dave, had written a letter to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court in this context, strongly protesting against the 'extraordinary urgent listing' of Goswami's petition.
Later, Samyabrata Ray Goswami, wife of Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami, has written to the Supreme Court Secretary General against SCBA President Dushyant Dave's letter. She alleged that it is a malicious attempt by Shri Dushyant Dave to cause prejudice to the hearing of Arnab Ranjan Goswami's petition in the Supreme Court by his selective outrage.
A similar controversy arose at the time of hearing of contempt proceedings against Advocate Prashant Bhushan, when the Supreme Court was functioning in a restrictive manner.
Recently, a PIL was filed alleging adoption of a "pick and choose" policy by its Registry and of routinely giving preference to influential advocates in listings. However, the same came to be dismissed, with cost, and a direction to not demoralize the Registry by such remarks.
"We see, in general, it has become a widespread practice to blame the Registry for no good reasons. To err is human, as many petitions are filed with defects, and defects are not cured for years together. A large number of such cases were listed in the recent past before the Court for removal of defects which were pending for years. In such situation, when the pandemic is going on, baseless and reckless allegations are made against the Registry of this Court, which is part and parcel of the judicial system. We take judicial notice of the fact that such evil is also spreading in the various High Courts, and Registry is blamed unnecessarily for no good reasons," a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had said.