On Tuesday, the Supreme Court expressed its dismay over the fact that a bail application under Section 439 CrPC is not being listed for hearing for more than one year.
A Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian observed:
Normally, we do not interfere with an interim order passed by the High Court but we are constrained to pass the present order as we are shocked to see that the bail application under Section 439 CrPC is not being listed for hearing for more than one year.
The accused has a right to hearing of his application for bail. In fact, the denial of hearing is an infringement of right and liberty assured to an accused.
Even during the pandemic, when all Courts are making attempts to hear and decide all matter, non-listing of such an application for bail defeats the administration of justice. Under the prevailing pandemic, at least half of the judges should sit on alternative days so that hearing is accorded to the person in distress.
Non-listing of application for regular bail, irrespective of seriousness or lack thereof, of the offences attributed to the accused, impinges upon the liberty of the person in custody.
In this case an special leave petition was filed against an order passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court, whereby the request for hearing of an application for bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, pending since 28.02.2020, was declined.
The court was shocked over this fact and after observing aforesaid directed:
Therefore, we hope that the High Court will be able to take up the application for bail at an early date so that the right of the accused of hearing of application for bail is not taken away by not entertaining such application on the mentioning memo.
The Bench has directed the Registrar General of the High Court to bring this Order to the notice of the competent authority to take remedial steps at the earliest.