Supreme Court to issue guidelines on long-pending criminal appeals in suo motu matter

Expressing displeasure over the long-pending criminal appeals in the Allahabad High Court, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the matter on Tuesday. The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh said it will issue guidelines in this regard.

The Apex Court said that it would decide under what circumstances the court should consider granting bail to custodial convicts. The Supreme Court ordered to register a case taking suo motu cognizance of the matter after noting that the suggestions given by the High Court in its affidavit are burdensome.

The bench had noted that several convicts are approaching the Supreme Court seeking suspension of sentence as criminal appeals are not being taken up for hearing by Allahabad HC. While considering a petition seeking suspension of sentence filed by a convict, the bench had earlier sought for the response of the Allahabad High Court on the issue.

In this case,  97 prisoners sought release from the court, saying that the Supreme Court, in its order dated May 4, 2021, ordered the state government to release 32 life prisoners as per the 2018 policy.

Along with this, the Apex Court has asked to consider other such matters. Despite this, when the prisoners were not released on time, the prisoners filed a contempt petition in the court, after which the state government released 32 prisoners.

The Uttar Pradesh government on July 28, 2021 amended the 2018 policy. In this amendment, it was said that this policy will be applicable only to prisoners of 60 years of age or more.

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The petitions in the Supreme Court alleged the July amendment was made to nullify the order of the court. The petitioners also said they should be released anyway because the amendment made in the Government Claims Policy will not be deemed to be applicable with retrospective effect.

On September 5, the Apex Court therefore issued a direction to the High Court to place before the Supreme Court a policy in this regard within 4 weeks and directed the registry to register suo motu proceedings and list the suo motu matter on November 16, 2021.
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