8 May 2023 9:53 AM GMT
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on Monday urged the Supreme Court to recall its order deferring grant of default bails to accused all across the nation, on the basis of findings in the recent judgment of Ritu Chhabaria v. Union of India.Last month, a Division Bench of the Apex Court comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice CT Ravikumar had held if...
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on Monday urged the Supreme Court to recall its order deferring grant of default bails to accused all across the nation, on the basis of findings in the recent judgment of Ritu Chhabaria v. Union of India.
Last month, a Division Bench of the Apex Court comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice CT Ravikumar had held if the investigating agency files a chargesheet without completing the investigation, the same would not extinguish the right of the accused to get default bail under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
However, on May 1, the Bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala agreed to constitute a three-judge bench on May 4 to consider Centre’s application seeking recall of the aforesaid judgment. Therein, the Court also ordered that any application filed before any Court seeking default bail on the basis of Ritu Chhabaria judgment should be deferred to a date after May 4.
But on May 4, a Bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala again extended above interim order till May 12.
Opposing such orders of deferment by the Benches headed by the CJI, the CJAR stated,
“CJAR has no comment to offer on whether the facts in the case justified the selection of the issues that were considered by the court in Ritu Chhabaria. However, the judgment is indisputably a welcome one, lays down the correct law consistent with the fundamental rights chapter of the constitution, and would be a travesty if it were eventually overturned. The main thrust of this Statement however is not in the merits of the judgment itself, but the manner in which subsequent Recall proceedings have been handled.”
It said that a recall application against a final judgment of the Supreme Court is not maintainable and the Registry should not have registered the same. The only remedy for the aggrieved party was to file a review application under Article 137 of the Constitution. Such a review application ought to be listed in chambers before that same Bench (if it is still available) that passed the judgment which is sought to be reviewed, as per the mandate of Order 47 Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Rules, CJAR said.
“Even the mentioning of the so-called Recall Application, even assuming it is only a differently labelled Review Application, ought to have been made and ought to have been allowed to be made only before that same bench that delivered the judgment. Institutional integrity demands that any departure from this convention if at all ought to be done only by means of a reasoned order,” it added.
The resolution further went on to say that the Chief Justice of India is the Master of Roster and only a first among the equals. However, the Chief Justice’s Bench is not an appellate Court over the final judgments and orders of other Benches of the Supreme Court.
“The Orders passed by the Chief Justice’s bench in the Recall Application, with the first one upon being mentioned by the Solicitor-General, show that the Chief Justice’s bench has effectively condoned this brazen act of forum-shopping and bench-hunting by the Union. In an equally improper manner, it has acted like an appellate court, listing the Recall Application before a different bench; and directing all lower courts to defer default bail applications relying on the judgment in Ritu Chhabaria.”
Accordingly, it appealed to the Benches which passed the said orders dated May 1 & 4 in the recall application, to suo motu recall the said order as those suffer from impropriety and lack of jurisdiction.