Supreme Court makes big shift to reduce pendency, single judge benches to hear bail, transfer cases

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Updated: September 20, 2019 12:02:03 PM

Earlier, a single judge bench used to hear cases pertaining to issues of transfer of criminal cases or civil suits from one court to another only during vacations.

Supreme Court, supreme court single judge bench, supreme court newsThis is for the first time in history that the apex court will constitute single judge benches. (File Photo)

Supreme Court Single Judge Bench: In an unprecedented move aimed at reducing the number of cases pending before it, the Supreme Court has approved setting up of single judge benches to hear cases concerning bail and transfer. This is for the first time in history that the apex court will constitute single judge benches. The Supreme Court, so far, only used to have benches with two or more number of judges to hear cases of various categories.

The new rule regarding setting up of Single Judge benches, which would be nominated by the Chief Justice, has been included in the existing Supreme Court Rules, 2013 through a notification in the official gazette on September 17.

Also Read: CJI Ranjan Gogoi writes to PM Modi, seeks increase in number of Supreme Court judges

Earlier, a single judge bench used to hear cases pertaining to issues of transfer of criminal cases or civil suits from one court to another only during vacations.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had recently raised concerns over an enormous amount of pending cases in courts across India. “In India, we have a little over one thousand 50-year- old cases and above two lakh 25-year old cases,” CJI Gogoi had said while speaking during an event Guwahati. Out of the 90 lakh pending civil cases, over 20 lakh are such in which even summons have not been served, he pointed out.

Interestingly, an 11-judge bench of the Patna High Court had last month suspended an order passed by a single-judge triggering a huge debate. Justice Rakesh Kumar in his order had expressed concern over alleged corruption and casteism in judiciary which was viewed as an “attack on judicial hierarhy, judicial integrity”.

“Taking a serious note of the matter, Chief Justice A P Sahi constituted a bench comprising 11 judges which today took a grim view of the single judge order and suspended it observing that it was tantamount to an attack on judicial hierarchy, judicial integrity and majesty of the court,” news agency quoted Advocate General of Bihar Lalit Kishor, as saying.

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