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1072 Petitions For Bail, Sentence Suspension Pending In Supreme Court, RTI Reply Reveals

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
2 Jan 2021 6:49 AM GMT
1072  Petitions For Bail, Sentence Suspension Pending In Supreme Court, RTI Reply Reveals
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A reply given by the Supreme Court to an application under the Right to Information Act(RTI Act) has revealed a crucial information.1072 cases relating to bail and suspension of sentence are pending in the Supreme Court as on December 18, 2020. This includes 931 petitions seeking bail/interim-bail and 141 cases seeking suspension of sentence.This information, which is not...

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A reply given by the Supreme Court to an application under the Right to Information Act(RTI Act) has revealed a crucial information.

1072 cases relating to bail and suspension of sentence are pending in the Supreme Court  as on December 18, 2020. This includes 931 petitions seeking bail/interim-bail and 141 cases seeking suspension of sentence.

This information, which is not otherwise available in the public domain, was given by the Additional Registrar and Central Public Information Officer of the Supreme Court, Ajay Agarwal, in the reply given to the application filed by RTI activist Saket Gokhale.

Gokhale's RTI application filed last November in the wake of the Supreme Court giving urgent listing to the bail plea of Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami had sought the following information :

  1. Please state the current backlog/number of cases of interim bail 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/
  2. 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.

In the reply dated December 18, the CPIO of the top court said that there was no information maintained by the SC regarding the interim bail applications which have not had a first listing as on November 12.

"The information data is not maintained in the manner as sought for by you", the reply stated.

However, the reply furnished information regarding the number of cases relating to bail and sentence suspension pending in the SC.

"...as per the Supreme Court Subject Category 1409 which deals with "Criminal matters relating to bail/interim bail/anticipatory bail", the number of pending SLP matters pertaining to the above Subject Category (as per data available in ICMIS software as on 18.12.2020) is 931 (which includes matters pertaining to not only interim bail but also bail/anticipatory bail, etc.). Further, as per Supreme Court Subject Category 1436 which deals with "Criminal matters relating to suspension of sentence", the number of pending matters pertaining to the above subject Category (as per data available in ICMIS software as on 18.12.2020) is 141".


As regards the second query made by Gokhale about the average waiting period between the filing of interim bail applications and listing before the bench, the CPIO stated that no information/data is maintained.

"The information/data is not maintained in the manner as sought for However, all matters are listed/eliminated/deleted as per guidelines, practice and procedure which are available in public domain viz. website www.sci.gov.in under the link "PraCtice & Procedure and also in accordance with the circulars and general or specific directions of the Hon'ble Court. You may, therefore, visit the website for getting the desired information", the reply stated.

While the National Judicial Data Grid gives data regarding the pendency of cases in High Courts and subordinate courts in the country subject-wise, it does not give information about the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court.

The urgent listing given to the petition filed by Arnab Goswami on November 9 within a day of its filing, that too when the court was closed for Diwali vacations, had raised many eyebrows within the legal community. The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, wrote to the SC registry complaining about the 'selective listing' given to Goswami's petition.

"This is a gross abuse of administrative power, whosoever has exercised it on administrative side. It gives an impression that Clients represented by certain Lawyers are getting special treatment, which does not speak well if the great Institution, that the Supreme Court is," Dave remarked.

Urgent Listing Of Arnab's Case: Lawyer Expresses Discontent Over SC's Registry, Alleges Discrimination & Preferential Treatment

 The Republic TV Chief had filed the petition on November 9, challenging the November 9 order of the Bombay High Court which denied him interim bail in the Anvay Naik suicide case, in which he was arrested by Maharashtra police on November 4.
After a day long hearing held by a special bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee on November 11, Goswami was granted bail. The bench waxed eloquent during the hearing about the duty of the courts to protect the personal liberty of citizens against state excesses.
 






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