The Supreme Court has directed the CBI to take necessary administrative steps to ensure no delay in filing of appeals and said an IT-based monitoring mechanism should be adopted to facilitate proper supervision.
Noting that there was a delay of 647 days in filing a petition by the probe agency against a Chhattisgarh High Court order in June 2019, the apex court observed that the explanation given by the CBI was "clearly insufficient".
The court dismissed on the grounds of delay the CBI plea against the acquittal of accused in a corruption case.
"The CBI is directed to take all necessary administrative steps to ensure that these kinds of delays do not occur in future. Delays in the part of the concerned officials in moving the appeals within the stipulated period of limitation is liable to cause grave misgivings on the reasons of delay," a bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said in its order last week.
It said the proposition that the delay was caused by the onset of Covid do not explain the entire period of delay as the high court had delivered the verdict in June 2019 while the pandemic started in March 2020.
The bench said the court must have due regard to the nature of explanation in determining whether a case for condoning the delay in filing the special leave petition is made out.
"We, therefore, direct that necessary administrative steps be taken by the CBI to ensure that the filing of the appeals and other steps required in law is duly monitored, preferably on an ICT (information and communications technology) platform so that such delays do not occur," the bench said, while dismissing the plea on the ground of delay.
It also observed that a mechanism involving ICT should be adopted to facilitate proper monitoring and supervision.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the CBI against the high court verdict which had acquitted the accused in a corruption case.
The high court had delivered its verdict on a batch of appeals filed by the accused, who were convicted and sentenced in November 2012 by a trial court in Raipur for the alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to cheating and criminal conspiracy, and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The high court had reversed the trial court order and acquitted the accused.
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