Supreme Court of India.

SC expresses shock at P&H HC refusal to hear year-old bail application

THE Supreme Court Wednesday expressed shock at Punjab and Haryana High Court for not deciding a bail application that had been pending for a year.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian said the accused had a right to have his bail application heard. The denial of a hearing was an infringement of the right and liberty assured to an accused, the judges said.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the accused against the high court’s rejection of his request to hear bail plea pending since 28.02.2020.

“Even during the pandemic, when all courts are making attempts to hear and decide all matters, non-listing of such an application for bail defeats the administration of justice”, the apex court said.

Under the prevailing pandemic, at least half of the judges should sit on alternative days so that a hearing is accorded to a person in distress. Non-listing of the application for regular bail, irrespective of the seriousness or lack thereof, of the offences attributed to the accused, impinges upon the liberty of the person in custody.

It also sent the copy of the order to the high court to take remedial steps and requested it to decide the bail plea of the accused at the earliest.

Click here to read the order