SC agrees to hear plea about Allahabad High Court not issuing a verdict over one year after reserving the order

Even after reserving the verdict in November 2021, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal on non-pronunciation of judgement by the Allahabad High Court on a criminal appeal.

Upon referring to a 2001 judgment delivered by the apex court, the plea argued that it had laid down guidelines regarding the pronouncement of verdicts by high courts after reserving the judgment.

Based on the 2001 verdict, any party involved in the case may move an application before the chief justice of the high court seeking to withdraw the case and re-file it before any other bench for fresh arguments if, for any reason, the judgment is not pronounced within six months.

The matter was heard before a bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia, which sought a response from the Uttar Pradesh government.

“Issue notice, returnable within six weeks,” said the bench in its order dated December 15.

Two people convicted and sentenced to life sentences in a murder case have petitioned the supreme court.

The instant petition raises both substantive and procedural issues concerning the functioning of the high court, both on an administrative and judicial level, according to the petition submitted by advocate Rishi Malhotra.

According to the court, based on the 2001 judgement and more particularly the fact that the date of reservation of the judgment had expired, the high court should have relisted the criminal appeal for new arguments before any other court.

In addition, a high court judge would not be able to recall in such a long period of time when reserving a judgment what was argued on facts and what was argued on law by the counsel appearing on behalf of the parties.

Having served over ten years of actual sentence, the petitioners have urged the apex court to direct that they be released on interim bail with a further direction to the high court to relist and rehear their appeal.

There are no reports that the petitioners are aware of the outcome of the statutory criminal appeal, and they have been incarcerated for more than 10 years of their actual sentence. “The irony would further be compounded if after a year of the judgement being reserved, the high court comes to the conclusion that the petitioners deserve an acquittal in the said case. It was stated in the plea that in addition to the enormous amount of judicial imprisonment which the petitioners had endured, one year more incarceration would be added for non-pronouncement of the judgment, which has taken more than a year to be announced.”

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