BREAKING: Supreme Court Overrules 2018 Asian Resurfacing Judgment on Automatic Vacation of Interim Orders After 6 Months

In a significant ruling, Supreme Court’s 5 Judge bench led by CJI D Y Chandrachud reversed Supreme Court’s own 2018 Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency ruling that had ordered automatic vacation of interim stay orders by High Courts in civil and criminal trials after six months unless extended.

Supreme Court constitution bench disagreed with the 2018 ruling of its 3-judges bench and said, the situation at the grassroot level courts is best known to the concerned courts and it is better left to those courts to decide which case should get priority for disposal.

The bench of CJI and Justices A S Oka, J B Pardiwala, P Mithal and M Misra said constitutional courts shouldn’t fix outer limit of disposal of cases for courts.

The bench added Constitutional Courts should pass orders fixing timeline for disposal of cases in exceptional circumstances to meet extraordinary situations. “There cannot be automatic vacation of stays,” it said.

It added that the Supreme Court should not have directed automatic vacation of stays by HCs on expiry of 6 months, unless extended by the High Court.

Writing the majority judgment, Justice Oka said “Constitutional courts should not fix timeline for disposal of cases pending in any court. The pattern of cases pending in various courts including HCs is different.” Justice Misra in a separate judgment concurred with Justice Oka.

The Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and other justices had expressed reservations, highlighting the lack of judicial discretion in automatic stay vacations and the adverse effects on litigants.

During the hearings, arguments focused on the delay in court proceedings, the constitutional implications of automatic stay vacations, and the potential undermining of High Courts’ autonomy.

Senior advocates and the Solicitor General argued against the automatic vacation of stay orders, emphasizing the need for judicial discretion and cautioning against a one-size-fits-all approach.

Also Read

The discussions also touched on the balance between speedy trials and the rights of the accused, the role of judicial discretion in the adjudicatory process, and the importance of specific, thoughtful legislation in setting timeframes for legal proceedings.

This Judgment is the result of an appeal against an Allahabad High Court decision which doubted the ‘automatic stay vacation rule and framed ten questions of law for Supreme Court to consider. In it’s 3rd November 2023 Judgment the Allahabad High Court’s three Judges Bench of CJ Pritinker Diwaker (As he then was), Justices Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Ajay Bhanot, granted certificate of appeal to Supreme Court considering the substantial question of law.

Case Title: High Court Bar Association Allahabad v The State Of Uttar Pradesh And Ors.

Case No- Crl.A. No. 3589/2023

Related Articles

Latest Articles