The high number of pending cases, including bail pleas, in the courts in India, has become a serious issue with a large number of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails.
More often than not, the judiciary is blamed for the pendency. However, on many occasions the cases are adjourned as the lawyers appearing in these cases, including those representing the government, seek adjournment.
Justice SS Shinde of the Bombay High Court highlighted this issue on Wednesday citing his own experience when he was on a jail visit.
The division bench of justices Shinde and Sarang Kotwal was hearing a bail application of a person who was convicted by the lower court. Pending hearing in his appeal, he had sought bail.
“I had visited a jail recently, and the inmates asked me what is happening to their bail applications,” said Justice Shinde.
Justice Shinde also turned toward the public prosecutor and said that "there is a problem in your office too".
“We list matters for hearing, and then you seek adjournment. We list the bail applications on our own, so that the lawyers come, argue and finish off the matter,” added Justice Shinde.
Sympathising with the undertrial prisoners, Justice Shinde said: “They (the bail applicants) are in jail languishing, this is taxing for them also.”
On Wednesday, the advocate for the convict sought an adjournment which prompted the judge to make the remarks.
When the public prosecutor also sought time, the judge asked the prosecution to ensure that frequent adjournments are not sought by the State too.