COVID-19 has brought many changes in the working of society. So, the Judicial System is also no exception to it. Lawyers and Judges have to learn new modes of technology in the E-Filing Era.
What’s the Controversy?
Initially, a bail application was filed manually by giving notice to the state. Thereafter another bail application was filed online on his behalf before this court.
The Bail Application filed through E-mode was allowed and bail was granted. In both the bail applications the deponent was identified by the same Advocate.
However different advocate roll numbers were mentioned in both the bail applications.
Hence, the applicant-informant could not know about the filing of the second bail application before the court and could not bring to the notice of the court correct facts and the bail was granted.
After knowing this the Informant moved an application for cancellation of bail.
Explanation of Filing Two Bail Applications
Counsel for the bail-applicant submitted that first bail application was filed manually on 17.03.2020. But on account of some defects pointed out by the office it was not listed before the court.
After that on 18.03.2020 when the clerk of the counsel for the bail-applicant went in the case filing section of the court, some corona infected employee was detected.
Then abruptly all manual filing work was closed due to panic created on account of the discovery of one corona infected employee in the High Court.
Counsel for the bail-applicant contacted the registry of the court. But no orders were found to have been issued regarding the cases filed manually and having defect and lying in the registry.
Thereafter, the counsel for the bail-applicant came to know in May 2020 that e-filing of bail applications have started.
So he gave notice of bail application of e-filing of bail application to the State on 21.05.2020 online. The reporting section objected that another bail application of the bail-applicant has been reported.
After that, the counsel for the bail-applicant filed a supplementary affidavit explaining the circumstances under which the second bail application was being filed.
It was also averred that the subsequent bail application may be treated as first bail application of the applicant.
The subsequent bail application was allowed by the court on 01.06.2020 after hearing of the same through video conferencing.
COVID Saved the Bail
The Allahabad High Court observed that normally the court would have cancelled the bail granted to the bail-applicant keeping view the allegations.
But considering the fact that when the first and second bail applications on behalf of the bail-applicant were filed there were extraordinary circumstances and very difficult time prevailing in the entire country and also in the court.
Counsels and the litigants were in great trouble since the normal functioning of the court was suspended. Hence the court was not inclined to cancel the bail granted to the bail-applicant.
Further, the Court observed that It appears that counsel for the bail-applicant committed a mistake in not bringing to the notice of the court the fact that regarding the same accused two bail applications have been filed before this court, one manually and other by way of e-filing.
Court said that had it been in the normal course of functioning, the court would have taken a strict view of the matter. But extraordinary situations require extraordinary caution and circumspection in dealing with such cases.
Title: Sudama Devi vs State of U.P.
Case No. Criminal Misc. Bail Cancellation Application No. – 103 Of 2020
Coram: Hon’ble Mr Justice Siddharth
Date of Order: 20.10.2020
Counsel for Applicant: Sunil Kumar Singh, Anil Kumar Srivastava (Senior Adv.)
Counsel for Opposite Party: G.A., Matiur Rehman Khan