New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed its dissatisfaction after learning that a bail application under Section 439 of the CrPC was not listed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for more than year.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said: “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.”
While observing that the top court normally does not interfere with an interim order passed by the High Court, the bench added: “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 top court made this observation while hearing a special leave petition filed by Chunni Lal Gaba against the order declining the request for hearing of an application for bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, pending since February 28, 2020.
It said that 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.
“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,” the top court observed.
It said it hopes 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.
“Let the Registrar General of the High Court bring this order to the notice of the competent authority to take remedial steps at the earliest. The special leave petition stands disposed of accordingly,” said the top court in its order passed on Tuesday.
The petitioner, along with nine members of his family, were charge sheeted by the ED on charges of amassing wealth violating the PMLA provisions. They were allegedly involved in the infamous multi-crore synthetic drug racket case, in which Jadish Singh Bhola is the prime accused.