Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta
Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta

Delay in hearing Criminal Appeals: Supreme Court appoints Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as Amicus Curiae

Murali Krishnan

The Supreme Court today appointed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as Amicus Curiae to consider the issue of inability of High Courts to bring Criminal Appeals to an expeditious conclusion.

The order was passed by a Bench of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Surya Kant in an appeal filed by a person convicted for offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. His appeal against the conviction is pending before the High Court and he has been in custody for over three years after the High Court had refused to grant him bail.

The Supreme Court noted in its order that the appeal before the Allahabad High Court is not likely to be heard immediately unless an order of expeditious hearing is passed either by the Supreme Court or by the High Court.

The Court also noted that such an order for expeditious hearing should not be passed without cogent grounds as the same may affect other litigants whose appeals are similarly pending.

Yet, at the same time, the inability of the High Court, for reasons beyond its control, to bring the criminal appeals to an early conclusion should not result in a situation where the accused persons are to be released on bail on the aforesaid ground, the Supreme Court noted.

Stating that these issues would require consideration, the Court sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in evolving solutions to the problem.

[Read Order]

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