Warning of a blanket bail order, the Supreme Court blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to take steps to release prisoners on trial who had been jailed for more than 10 years despite an order from the highest court.
The court also strongly criticized the Allahabad High Court for not deciding quickly on bail applications.
The Bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh yesterday said the state government and High Court were ‘not responsive’ and added they were prepared to ‘take the burden’ and decide the cases by themselves. The court warned that it “will pass a general order granting bail”.
The strong submissions came as the court heard a bail request by a Suleman, a sub-trial who has been in jail for 12 years now. He moved to the upper court after no upper court bench was available to hear his appeal.
In his plea, he said many sub-trials had languished in jail for more than 15 years without bail.
“Give bail to the sub-trials, or we will. If you can’t handle it, then we will. There is a problem with both the High Court and the State. You don’t cannot put these people behind bars indefinitely,” the senior official said. the court said, noting that 853 sub-trials had been in state prisons for more than 10 years.
The court has now ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to submit details of these sub-trials in two weeks. The case will be heard on August 17.
The court referred to a report filed by the chief clerk of the high court on those incarcerated for more than 15 years, and between 10 and 14 years. “It appears that 62 bail applications are still to be processed and should be listed within the next 2-3 weeks. 232 new bail applications were filed during this period from April 22, 2022 to July 17, 2022 where no bail was applied before,” he said.
On May 9, the Supreme Court declared that all offenders who have spent more than 10 years in prison should be released on bail and asked the High Court in Allahabad to quickly rule on their plea by clubbing them. “After setting standards, it shouldn’t take weeks to have these apps,” he said.