SC expresses shock as criminal appeals pending since 1976 in Alld HC

SC expresses shock as criminal appeals pending since 1976 in Alld HC

The Supreme Court has expressed shock over the fact that criminal appeals were pending in Allahabad High Court as early as year 1976.

A report sent by the HC's registrar general stated that over 1.79 lakh criminal appeals were pending. Of this, 1714 cases were filed as jail petitions with appellants languishing in jails.

Alarmed at 10 to 15 years delay in deciding criminal appeals leading to prolonged incarceration of accused in certain cases, the top court has last year embarked upon a pilot project with the Allahabad High Court to mitigate long-standing hardships of the jailed people.

Subsequently, it also called for a report from Madhya Pradesh High Court on a PIL by NGO 'Lawyers for Justice'. In MP, it was pointed out that as many as 71,474 cases were pending over there since 1994.

After going through the report from two High Courts, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said something has to be done to contain the alarming situation.

"We at present don't know what could be done but certainly we will try to do something. This is very concerning situation. Some of the matters are taken up for hearing in two to three decades," the bench said.

The apex court, however, said that in some high courts like in Madras and Andhra Pradesh high courts, the situation is better.

The court was hearing two petitions one filed by a murder convict, Ramu, through advocate Dushyant Prasahar, seeking bail due to delay in adjudication on his appeal, and another by NGO 'Lawyers for Justice'. The individual petition was languishing in jail for 12 years with his appeal pending in high court.

The court appointed senior advocate M N Rao as amicus curiae to assist in the matter. It had earlier sought assistance from senior advocates C U Singh and Shyam Diwan as amicus curiae.

Advocate Navin Prakash appearing for the NGO said that this situation has resulted in convicts completing maximum sentence for the offence in jail with their appeal challenging their conviction still pending in high courts.

In March last year, the court had sought report from the Allahabad High Court on the status of criminal appeals pending with it.

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