Delay in communicating bail orders affects human liberty: Justice Chandrachud

‘A very serious deficiency in the criminal justice system is the delay in the communication of bail orders, which we need to address on war footing,’ Justice D Y Chandrachud says.

Justice Chandrachud referred to the importance of virtual courts and said that they have been set up in 12 states for adjudicating traffic challans | File Photo: PTI

Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud on Wednesday said delay in communicating bail orders to prison authorities is a “very serious deficiency” as it “touches upon the human liberty” of every undertrial and convict.

Justice Chandrachud was speaking at an online event organised by the Allahabad High Court to inaugurate virtual courts and ‘e-Sewa kendras’ to facilitate online legal assistance to litigants.

“A very serious deficiency in the criminal justice system is the delay in the communication of bail orders, which we need to address on war footing. Because this touches upon human liberty of every undertrial, or even a convict who has got suspension of sentence,” he said.

The judge referred to an initiative being launched at the Orissa High Court by Chief Justice S Murlidhar, called the ‘e-custody certificate’.

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“That certificate will give us all the requisite data with regard to that particular undertrial or convict, right from initial remand to the subsequent progress of each case. This will also help us in ensuring that bail orders are communicated as soon as they are made, from the place they are communicated, to the jails for immediate implementation,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Recently, Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, spent an extra day in the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai despite securing bail from the Bombay High Court in the drugs-on-cruise case.

Earlier this year, a Bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana had expressed strong displeasure over reports of delay in implementation of bail orders and had said it would set up a secure, credible and authentic channel for transmission of orders. “Even in the digital age, we are still looking at the skies for the pigeons to communicate orders,” the bench had said.

The Supreme Court had then ordered the implementation of a project called ‘Fast and Secure Transmission of Electronic Records (FASTER)’ for faster communication and compliance of its orders and had asked all states and Union Territories to ensure internet facility, with adequate speed, in every jail.

Speaking at the event, Justice Chandrachud referred to the importance of virtual courts and said that they have been set up in 12 states for adjudicating traffic challans. “Across the country 99.43 lakh cases have been completed. Fines have been collected for 18.35 lakh cases. Total fine collected is over 119 crores of rupees. About 98,000 violators chose to contest the case,” the judge said.

“Now you can imagine that for a common citizen who has a traffic challan, to spend a day away from daily wages and to go to court to pay for the traffic challan is not productive,” he said.

Justice Chandrachud said that 2.95 crore criminal cases are pending in district courts in the country and over 77 per cent cases are more than one year old.

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