20 Oct 2022 12:52 PM GMT
"Traditional methods won't be sufficient to decongest the judiciary", the Supreme Court of India observed on Wednesday noting that over 80% of fresh filing in the Constitutional courts were criminal cases. A Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar observed that remedial steps in this regard need to be taken immediately. The Bench was prompted to makes these observations...
"Traditional methods won't be sufficient to decongest the judiciary", the Supreme Court of India observed on Wednesday noting that over 80% of fresh filing in the Constitutional courts were criminal cases.
A Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar observed that remedial steps in this regard need to be taken immediately. The Bench was prompted to makes these observations after Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi informed that it was very difficult to get Ekta Kapoor's petition listed for hearing before the Patna High Court. According to him, the High Court is clogged with bail applications and criminal appeals.
"Particularly in Patna, the filing there is such that, it is in unmanageable. 80-85% is criminal filing. God knows how they will manage?", Justice Rastogi said.
When Justice Rastogi said that the situation is similar in Bombay and Allahabad High Courts, Rohatgi pointed out that at least in Bombay High Court, there's a procedure for mentioning of cases for urgent listing, which isn't the same with the Allahabad and Patna High Courts.
"Something has to be done urgently, to manage the affairs. Not to intervene but to manage the affairs", the Bench said.
The Bench also pointed out that in every state, several petitions were being filed under section 482 for quashing FIRs, quashing chargesheets and taking cognizance, "We are also pressurising them, saying give reasons!"
Rohatgi said that it works both ways. "If a detailed order is passed, then your Lordships say that they are conducting a mini-trial, if it's then one-page order, then there's no reason."
Recalling his initial days in the bar, the senior advocate said that bail orders consisted of a only single page, back then.
"You senior lawyers should find out whether something is possible", the Judge remarked.
Rohatgi suggested that that the Court lay down guidelines for the high courts and trial courts on how to deal with criminal cases.
"Some brainstorming session between experience lawyers and judges of this court (Supreme Court) should happen to sort out the problems which your Lordship has mentioned, matters pertaining to 438 (of the CRPC pertaining to bail), 138 (of the Negotiable Instruments Act pertaining to dishonour of cheques). This Court must lay down. Because, High Court judges have frankly told us, what do we do? Even Trial Court Judges….."
Justice Rastogi pointed out that trial court judges are completely recusing from granting bail.
Explaining further, the Bench observed that trial court judges are afraid of exercising their discretion to grant bail in the prevailing atmosphere as they don't want to take the risk and therefore, adopt the safest route of dismissing bail pleas. "This makes litigants rush to the high courts", the Bench said.
Rohatgi eventually withdrew the petition filed on behalf of Kapoor.
Case Title: Ekta Kapoor Versus The State Of Bihar And Anr | Diary No. 31826-2022 Ii-A