The Supreme Court has expressed its shock over not allowing hearing of a bail matter by the Punjab and Haryana high court, which was pending for over one year.
The SC was hearing a bail plea from Chunni Lal Gaba, a Goraya-based multimillionaire businessman, who is an accused in the Bhola drug racket case of 2013. The matters regarding hearing of this case have been assigned by high court to a special division bench presided over by justice Rajan Gupta after Supreme Court orders.
“Normally, we do not interfere with an interim order passed by the high court, but we are constrained to pass the present order as we are shocked to see that the bail application, under Section 439 of the CrPC, is not being listed for hearing for over one year,” the bench of justice Hemant Gupta and justice V Ramasubramanian said, adding that the accused has a right to hearing of his application for bail and the denial of same is an infringement of his rights and liberty assured to him. Under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the high court has special powers regarding consideration of bail.
Hearings are restricted at the high court due to the Covid-19 outbreak. On many occasions, lawyers have protested against the HC decision of not assigning more benches for virtual mode and delaying resumption of hearing through physical mode.