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Suggest Remedies To Ensure Hearing Of Criminal Appeals Within Reasonable Time: SC Asks Centre [Read Order]

Apoorva Mandhani
30 Oct 2017 4:31 AM GMT
Suggest Remedies To Ensure Hearing Of Criminal Appeals Within Reasonable Time: SC Asks Centre [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court, on Friday, 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,...

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, 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 Justice A.K. Goel and Justice U.U. Lalit observed. It also requested Senior Counsel Dhruv Mehta to assist it as amicus curiae.

The Court was hearing a Petition filed by one Mr. Sadaullah, who had been convicted of murder and had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

During the hearing, the Court noted that in response to its earlier order, the Jharkhand High Court had refused to hear the Appellant's appeal while observing that much older appeals were still pending. These were appeals that had been pending for more than thirteen and a half years.

The Bench scorned at the pendency, which, it observed, was not limited to any particular High Court. It observed, "Similar position prevails in several High Courts where large number of criminal appeals are pending and hearing takes more than ten years. In many cases, the convicts are in custody for many years1. It appears that there is no likelihood of such appeals being heard in the expected time of about one year or at least within five years."

The Court then took note of minutes of a meeting of the stakeholders held by the Arrears Committee of the Supreme Court, wherein it had lamented the pendency of criminal appeals before High Courts and had suggested institution of an alternate mechanism of hearing of such Appeals.

The Committee had suggested, "Thus, there is need for re-engineering of the structure of administration of justice by which the Supreme Court and the High Courts may discharge only core constitutional functions while the statutory appeals or other statutory functions can be dealt with by an alternative mechanism by courts of appeal which, in hierarchy will be higher to the district judges but below the High Court."

Taking note of these observations, the Court sought suggestions from the Centre and listed the matter on 21 November.

Read the Order Here


 
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