Bail pleas must be decided as expeditiously as possible: Supreme Court | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Disapproving the practice of high courts not giving early hearing in bail matters, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said pleas seeking pre-arrest or post-arrest bail must be decided by courts as expeditiously as possible as they involve the liberty of a person.
Days after it had raised questions on the Gujarat high court’s listing of the bail plea of social activist Teesta Setalvad six weeks after issuing notice on her petition, the apex court said that the court must decide a bail plea swiftly, one way or the other, and must not keep it pending for long to push the petitioner “to a position of uncertainty”.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B V Nagarathna, while hearing a petition against the Chhattisgarh high court order to take bail plea in “due course” while refusing interim protection to an accused, said that it was an unusual practice adopted by the high court and disapproved it.
“Ordinarily, this court where there is refusal to grant interim relief is not inclined to interfere but this is a somewhat peculiar fact brought to the notice of this court where the applicant who approached for seeking anticipatory bail, the learned judge of the high court, while admitting the bail petition, dismissed the interim relief and posted the matter for hearing in due course. This is an unusual practice which this court has never come across,” the bench said.
“We also disapprove such practice and request the chief justice of the high court to take a judicial note and at least the bail applications whether it is pre-arrest bail or post-arrest bail must be decided as expeditiously as possible. Although we are not supposed to give any guidelines for the disposal of the bail applications but at the same time we always expect that bail applications must be decided as expeditiously as possible and not to be posted in due course of time,” the bench said.
It also noted that another apex court bench had earlier raised this issue and had said that such a procedure for hearing of bail plea can not be “countenanced”.
“We are of the considered view that this type of indefinite adjournment in a matter relating to anticipatory bail, that too after admitting it, is detrimental to the valuable right of a person. …we find it necessary to emphasise that when a person is before the court and that too in a matter involving personal liberty, least what is expected is for such a person to be given the result one way or the other, based on the merit of his case and not push him to a position of uncertainty or be condemned without being heard,” the court had said.

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