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Report No. 142

Chapter II

Magnitude of the Problem of Delays in Criminal Cases

2.1. Delay in the disposal of criminal trials and appeals.-

Grievances have been vented in public that the disposal of criminal trials in the courts of the Magistrates and District and Session Judges takes considerable time. It is said that the criminal trials do not commence for as long a period as three to four years after the accused was remitted to judicial custody. In the meantime the accused languish in jails.

It was further represented that the conditions prevailing in the jails are appealing and the accused are obliged to live in sub-human conditions mixed up with hard-core criminals. It is said that in several cases the time spent by the accused in jails before the commencement of trials exceeds the maximum punishment which can be awarded to them even if they are found guilty of offences charged against them.

2.2. An appeal is generally carried against the Order of the trial court, especially in Sessions cases. Experience has shown that in the High Courts, (barring exceptions), it would take at least five to eight years for a criminal appeal to be decided. In High Courts like Allahabad and Bombay, the Commission gathered the period of waiting for the disposal of the Appeals is as long as ten years.

If the matter should be carried on further appeal to the Supreme Court, it would be another 10 years by the time the Supreme Court decides the matter. As on date, the Commission found, the Supreme Court is dealing with criminal Appeals relating to the year 1979. This enormous delay in the disposal of criminal matters in courts which should normally receive speedy attention is the result of docket explosion.

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