In a landmark decision the Punjab and Haryana High Court has decided to abolish its archaic,lengthy process of deciding regular bail applications.
Under existing procedures,an accused has to wait few months for his/her regular bail application to be decided. The court first issues notices to the concerned State government,seeks its response,summons the investigating officer (IO) if required,and hears the arguments before deciding on the application. The entire exercise takes at least four to five months.
The High Court has decided that from now all regular bail applications will be decided on the very first hearing. As per the new procedure,bail applications will be listed exactly a week after filing. The concerned state government/police agency will get a week to prepare its reply and IO summoned. On the first hearing the court will hear arguments of both parties,enquire from the IO and decide on the bail plea.
This decision taken by a three-judge committee comprising Justices Surya Kant,Amol Rattan Singh and M S Chauhan is likely to be implemented by
Due consultations with Advocate Generals of Punjab,Haryana and senior public prosecutor for Chandigarh,R S Rai,were held before the decision was taken. Taking note of the undue delays in the High Court in deciding regular bail applications,a body of lawyers had suggested an overhaul of the decades old system. Finding merit in the suggestion,the then Chief Justice had constituted the three-judge committee to look into the issue.
All applications will be decided the same day. For speedy and effective implementation,the National Informatics Centre (NIC) will be told to make necessary amendments so that update of such cases is reflected in the daily list.
The new system for disposing bail will however,not apply to anticipatory bail applications.