Prisoner has right to get speedy justice: SC
The apex court was so pained to see a prisoner in jail waiting for justice indefinitely. The court felt it to be an inhumane act and directed the Allahabad High Court to dispose his appeal against the lower court verdict sentencing him to life imprisonment for the offence of murder.
There are many such occasions where such incidents happen. The SC held that a prisoner has all right to get speedy justice, if not it will amount to justice denied. Yet many High Courts were slow in deciding appeals filed by the accused against the lower court judgments that awards life imprisonment to them. Sometimes it takes five or even ten years for a High Court to decide on the appeals.
There have been occasions when ultimately the High Court delivered judgments declaring them innocents as prosecution failed to prove the offence beyond doubts. Then it gave a sordid picture that innocents were punished for offences they have not committed. Even persons who were sentenced to life imprisonment by lower courts and verdicts upheld by High Courts were nullified by the Supreme Court. That showed the serious drawbacks in the administration of justice as well as the shabby and tardy investigations by the police.
The SC was so disturbed when it took up the case of a person named Bobby. He has been in jail when a lower court sentenced him for life imprisonment 10 years back. He had filed an appeal in the Allahabad High Court but so far the appeal has not been heard. Meanwhile, he filed a petition for bail. That also was turned down by the High Court. Then he approached the SC. The highest court of the land now has strictly directed the High Court to dispose within three months his appeal. In case it is not disposed, he has to be granted bail immediately.
This order of the SC may have great consequences. The High Courts in different states will have to dispose the appeals filed in a speedy manner giving relief to those languishing in jails. It takes more than 5 years for disposal of appeals by the High Courts. Action plans were drawn at different occasions for speedy disposal but has not been fruitful. Incidentally it has been brought to light that appeals are pending in Allahabad HC too.
Since the past 20 years or so, by the time the appeals are decided, sometimes the prisoners would have been released as they would have undergone ten or twelve years punishment.