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Many appeals, not enough judges: High court

“There are just not enough judges and there are too many appeals,” said Justice Marlapalle, expressing concern over the number of appeals pending in the Bombay High Court. Urvi Mahajani reports.

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2010 01:45 IST

“There are just not enough judges and there are too many appeals,” said Justice Marlapalle, expressing concern over the number of appeals pending in the Bombay High Court.

Even earlier courts have expressed helplessness over high pendency rate in the high court and lower courts.

Some trials start as late as a decade and the accused have to languish in jail for years so the high court had earlier directed releasing them on bail.

In March, the high court formed a Special Task Force (STF) to ensure that undertrials do not languish in jail for a term longer than their possible conviction period.

The court was hearing a bail application on Thursday filed by Parshu Nalawade who was sentenced to life imprisonment in

MONITORING UNDERTRIALS

1. The STF comprising a high court judge will monitor undertrial prisoners with the help of district judges. It will be constituted in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Goa, Diu, Daman and Dadra Nagar Haveli.

2.There are 10,691 undertrials in Maharashtra, 115 and 73 undertrial prisoners in Goa and Union territories respectively. The issue of prisoners was taken up suo moto by the HC after social activist Shailesh Gandhi wrote a letter.
a 2004 murder case.

His counsel Shirish Gupte said sessions court had convicted him in 2008 and sentenced him to life. Nalawade had filed an appeal in the high court.

Considering the appeal would be heard after few years, Nalawade sought bail pending hearing in his appeal.

Justice Marlapalle said there are 350 appeals pending before us (high court) which are filed by convicts who are already out on bail.

“Moreover, there are equal number of appeals of those filed by convicts who are in jail. Despite giving preference to their appeals, we have just started hearing appeals filed in 2001,” added Justice Marlapalle.

“At this rate, it will take us at least 2 years to hear only those appeals by convicts through jail. Your appeal may not come up for hearing for another 10 years,” said Justice Marlapalle.

Ashok Mundargi, senior counsel and president of the Advocates Association of Western India, said: “At present, there are only two benches in the high court which are hearing appeals. Appeals filed by government against acquittals in 1985 are still pending.”

High court has kept Nalawade’s bail application for hearing after eight weeks.