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Accused Has Right To Have His Bail Plea Heard In Reasonable Time: Allahabad HC Seeks Time Bound Procedure For Supplying Instructions To Govt Advocates

Akshita Saxena
26 May 2021 3:31 PM GMT
Accused Has Right To Have His Bail Plea Heard In Reasonable Time: Allahabad HC Seeks Time Bound Procedure For Supplying Instructions To Govt Advocates
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"Failure of the police authorities to provide timely instructions to the Govt Advocate/ Additional Govt Advocate in bail applications causes delay in the hearing of the bail applications, and often leads to unjustified incarceration of an accused in jail," the Allahabad High Court observed recently. A Single Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot has therefore directed the Director General...

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"Failure of the police authorities to provide timely instructions to the Govt Advocate/ Additional Govt Advocate in bail applications causes delay in the hearing of the bail applications, and often leads to unjustified incarceration of an accused in jail," the Allahabad High Court observed recently.

A Single Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot has therefore directed the Director General of Police, UP, to ensure that a fair, transparent and clear procedure is created for supplying instructions to the GA/AGA in bail applications before the High Court.

It has ordered that the procedure shall be framed within a period of 8 weeks and it shall include the designation of the officials, the tasks or duties which they have to discharge, and a definite time frame for such purpose.

"The process of furnishing instructions to the GA/ AGA before hearing of bail applications has to contain safeguards which protect the constitutional liberties of the bail applicants/ accused persons. To achieve the aforesaid, the procedure has to be transparent, with well defined responsibilities, and definite timelines. The responsible officials should be accountable for failures to adhere to the said procedure and timelines stated therein," the Bench observed.

The remarks were made in view of failure of the Police authorities in giving instructions to an AGA with respect to the bail plea of one Sahil. Consequently, the AGA was not in a position to present the full and true facts before the Court and the bail application could not be heard.

Further, no explanation was given for failure on part of the police authorities to furnish the appropriate instructions to the AGA, despite ample time being given to the police authorities.

Taking a serious view of this, the Bench observed,

"The purpose of giving advance notice of bail applications to the office of Government Advocate is to ensure that police authorities/ prosecution are able to furnish timely instructions in the case to the Government Advocate.
The right of an accused to have his bail application heard by the Court within a reasonable time has been entrenched as a constitutional liberty. The right flows from Article 21…"

At this juncture, the State Government assured the Court that an enquiry has been ordered into the failure of the concerned official.

However, the Court observed that there is non-compliance of the directions issued by the High Court to the competent police authorities in Ajeet Chaudhary v. State of UP, 2021 (1) ADJ 559.

In Ajeet Chaudhary, directions were issued for streamlining the procedure for providing timely instructions to the GA/AGA in cases pertaining to offences under the SC/ST Act.

"An analogous procedure can also be created for other criminal cases as well," the Single Bench remarked while stating that the concerns expressed in Ajeet Choudary (supra) are applicable to all bail applications.

Creation of a similar procedure for all District Courts may also be considered if deemed appropriate, it said.

It added that the timelines in the procedure to provide instructions may vary as per the provisions of law. But the timeline has to be defined to ensure that hearing of the bail applications is not delayed indefinitely to the detriment of the accused/ bail applicant.

It also ordered that there has to be a constant oversight of the implementation of such procedure and appropriate departmental action as per law should be taken against officials who without good cause fail to discharge their assigned duties therein.

Before parting, the Court observed,

"The surest foundation of the rule of law and stability of constitutional order lies not only in the existence of an independent judiciary; but equally in the regard shown by every constitutional organ of governance to the fundamental rights of all citizens, and actions of state officials to diligently comply with the orders passed by the Court."

Case Title: Sahil v. State of UP

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