Supreme Court directions speeding up disposal of cases of undertrials pending in subordinate courts and appeals pending in the High Courts.

SUPREME COURT in the case of Hussain and Anr. v. Union of India [Criminal
Appeal No.509 of 2017], the Chief Justices of all High Courts were asked to
forthwith take appropriate steps consistent with the directions of the Supreme Court
in earlier cases and Resolution of Chief Justices’ Conference and to have
appropriate monitoring mechanism in place on the administrative side as well as on
the judicial side for speeding up disposal of cases of undertrials pending in
subordinate courts and appeals pending in the High Courts. It was inter alia directed
as follows:-

(i) The High Courts may issue directions to subordinate courts that –

(a) Bail applications be disposed of normally within one week;
(b) Magisterial trials, where accused are in custody, be normally concluded within six
months and sessions trials where accused are in custody be normally concluded
within two years;
(c) Efforts be made to dispose of all cases which are five years old by the end of the
(d) As a supplement to Section 436A, but consistent with the spirit thereof, if an
undertrial has completed period of custody in excess of the sentence likely to be
awarded if conviction is recorded such undertrial must be released on personal
bond. Such an assessment must be made by the concerned trial courts from time to
(e) The above timelines may be the touchstone for assessment of judicial
performance in annual confidential reports.”

(ii) “The High Courts are requested to ensure that bail applications filed before them
are decided as far as possible within one month and criminal appeals where
accused are in custody for more than five years are concluded at the earliest”;

(iii) “The High Courts may prepare, issue and monitor appropriate action plans for
the subordinate courts”;

(iv) “The High Courts may monitor steps for speedy investigation and trials on
administrative and judicial side from time to time”;

(v) “The High Courts may take such stringent measures” as may be found necessary
in the light of judgment of this Court in Ex. Captain Harish Uppal case.[On 9th March, 2017]