SC expresses concern over backlog of cases in MP, Allahabad HCs

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jan 2018 08:47:54



THE Supreme Court on Friday expressed “shock” over the fact that criminal appeals at Allahabad High Court are pending since 1980s while the Madhya Pradesh High Court has a pendency of over 70,000 cases since 1994.
Concerned over the figures on pending cases cited in the reports of Allahabad and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, the top court said that “something needs 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,” a bench of justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

In its report, the Madhya Pradesh High Court said that it has total of 71,474 cases pending since 1994, in its three branches--Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior.
The total number of appeals where the sentence is life imprisonment are 15,424.
As many as 21,662 appeals where the sentence is up to three years for petty offences are pending since 1995 while appeals where sentence is more than three years and up to five years are 8,442.

Appeals of convicts, who have challenged their sentence of more than five years and less than life imprisonment are 15,040 which are pending since 1994.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has three pending appeals challenging capital punishment including two at its principal bench at Jabalpur which are pending since 2017.
The total number of other criminal appeals including state appeals are 10,903.

The High Court said that last year till September 30, 2017, it had decided 4,118 such appeals and that now a dedicated bench sits on Saturday of every week to adjudicate the criminal appeals.

“This Saturday benches has enabled for speedy disposal of 944 such appeals pending since decades. There is shortage of judges which has to some extent resulted in backlog of cases,” counsel appearing for the MP High Court said.
The apex court, however, said that in some High Courts the situation is better like in Madras and Andhra Pradesh High Courts.

The court was hearing two petitions including one filed by an individual and an NGO ‘Lawyers for Justice’ and appointed senior advocate M N Rao as amicus curiae to assist in the matter.
The top court had earlier appointed senior advocates C U Singh and Shyam Diwan as amicus curiae to assist in the matter.

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.

Advocate Dushyant Prashar appearing for petitioner Ramu said that he is languishing in jail for the past 12 years with his appeal still pending in Allahabad High Court. The bench then called for a report of superintendent of Unnao district jail in Uttar Pradesh with regard to Ramu, who is an accused in a murder case.