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Starting May 13, single judge Benches of the Supreme Court may hear and dispose of matters concerning bail and transfer of cases. These Benches will be nominated by the Chief Justice of India, as per a notice issued today.
The Supreme Court had effected certain changes to the Supreme Court Rules in September last year. The same allowed for Single Judge Benches nominated by the Chief Justice of India to hear and finally dispose of matters pertaining to bail and anticipatory bail applications as well as transfer petitions.
While the Supreme Court has been functioning on a restricted basis amid the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown, it is notified now that the following matters may be listed before Single Judge Benches from May 13 onwards, i.e.
SLPs arising out of the grant or rejection of bail or anticipatory bail;
transfer petitions of urgent nature under Section 406 of Code of Criminal Procedure; and
transfer petitions of urgent nature under Section 25 of Code of Civil Procedure.
Earlier, Order VI, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 stated that these matters shall be heard by a Bench of not less than two judges. However, after the September 2019 amendment, the following matters may be heard by Single Judge Benches:
(i) Special leave petitions arising out of grant, dismissal or rejection of Bail Application or Anticipatory Bail Application in the matters filed against the order passed under section 437, section 438 or section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) involving the offences punishable with sentence up to seven years imprisonment;
(ii) Applications for transfer of cases under section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974);
(iii) Application of an urgent nature for transfer of cases under section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908);
(iv) Any other category of cases notified by the Chief Justice from time to time, which may be heard and disposed of finally by a Judge sitting singly nominated by him
The Chief Justice of India will nominate the single Judge Benches for hearing and disposing of the said category of matters.