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Explore alternative fora for criminal appeals: SC to Centre

New Delhi: Voicing concern over the delay in hearing of criminal appeals, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to explore the possibility of having alternative fora for hearing of pleas by adopting suitable legislative or administrative measures.
A bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said a large number of criminal appeals were pending in different high courts and it takes more than 10 years for hearing.
The apex court said speedy justice is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and if the cases are not heard within the reasonable time, this right may be rendered meaningless.
It issued notice to Attorney General K K Venugopal to assist the top court and inform it accordingly.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand was asked to apprise the Attorney General about the issue. It also appointed senior advocate Dhruv Mehta as amicus curiae in the matter.
"It appears necessary to explore the suggestion whether there can be an alternative fora for hearing of appeals by adopting suitable legislative or administrative measures to effectuate the mandate of fundamental right under Article 21.
We, accordingly, issue notice to the Attorney General to assist this Court on the question of what remedies can ensure hearing of criminal appeals within a reasonable time," the bench said.
The order was passed on a plea filed a man convicted for offence of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Jharkhand High Court.
He had approached the apex court against refusal of bail by the high court on account of delay in hearing of appeal.
The top court had requested the high court to hear the appeal expeditiously.
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