Hear bail plea of convict in jail for 21 years quickly, SC to HC

Supreme Court

New Delhi,   The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Allahabad High Court to immediately consider the bail application of a life convict whose plea remained pending from 2004 to 2013 and eventually got disposed of. The convict has been in jail for 21 years without remission.

The top court was also informed that the appeal against the order of conviction is pending for more than 16 years.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah said: “We are of the view that in the facts of the present case, the ends of justice be served in giving the liberty to the petitioner to make a fresh application for suspension of sentence and grant of bail before the High Court in the pending criminal appeal.”

“We observe that in event the bail application is filed, the same shall be considered forthwith by the High Court.”

The petitioner Virendra had spent over 21 years in prison during pendency of his appeal, without any remission. However, the top court declined entertain the plea under the Constitution’s Article 32 praying for a direction for expeditious disposal of criminal appeal pending in the High Court.

“The criminal appeal being pending in the High Court, we are not inclined to entertain this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution,” said the top court.

The bench observed that from the facts brought on record, it appears that the application for suspension of the sentence and grant of bail was heard by the High Court on January 31, 2013 and disposed of for want of prosecution.

The criminal appeal was filed by the petitioner in 2004 and the High Court on July 19, 2004 directed the bail application be heard after receipt of the record. “It appears that the bail remained pending from 2004 to 2013 and was disposed of for want of prosecution. Thereafter, several dates were fixed for hearing of the appeal but could not be heard till date,” noted the top court.

The top court dismissed the petition. However, the bail application of the petitioner shall be decided at an early date preferably within a period of one month.

The plea contended that petitioner deserve sympathy, as he has been languishing in jail for more than 21 years (without remission) and post his conviction in 2004, it has been 16 years, neither he has been granted bail during the pendency of appeal nor his appeal has been heard and finally decided by the High Court.