Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has written to the chief justices of all high courts asking them to set up special benches on Saturdays for hearing criminal appeals in which legal aid has been provided. The CJI's letter highlights the issue of increasing pendency of cases, specially criminal appeals, due to delay in disposal. "As you are aware, a large number of criminal appeals/ jail appeals are pending in various High Courts.
Delay in disposal of these appeals raises question about the efficacy of the administration of justice as a whole and criminal justice system in particular," the letter said. Justice Misra acknowledged that one of the methods to ensure speedy disposal of such appeals was to identify and dispose of such appeals in which legal aid has been provided at the state expense. "May I, therefore, impress upon you to explore the possibility of hearing such criminal appeals/jail appeals, in which legal-aid-counsel has been provided, on Saturdays by specially constituted Bench for the purpose, after obtaining consent of the concerned legal aid counsel and State counsel. This will go a long way in ensuring speedy disposal of criminal appeals/jail appeals," Justice Misra wrote. CJI Misra also noted in his letter that some of the chief justices of the high courts have already agreed to go ahead with the project immediately commencing from the September 9.
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