The CBI has told the Supreme Court that appeals pertaining to the probe agency "take long time" for disposal and over 13,200 matters related to it are pending before the courts across the country, including 706 in the apex court.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, the CBI has given the details of matters pending before the sessions courts, high courts and the Supreme Court in appeals and other petitions in cases related to the probe agency.
The affidavit was filed by the CBI Director in pursuance to the apex court's earlier order passed in a matter in which the investigating agency has challenged a 2018 order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The Central Bureau of Investigation further said: "It is also experienced that appeals pertaining to CBI take long time for disposal. As on date, the details of matters pending before the sessions courts, high courts and the Supreme Court in appeal etc are as under..."
As per the details given in the affidavit filed last month, there are 218 matters pending in the apex court where appeals, writ petitions and pleas challenging the orders passed by various high court have been filed by the CBI.
It said 488 such petitions are pending which have been filed by the accused in the apex court, taking the total number of matters to 706.
The affidavit said that 931 such pending petitions have been filed by the CBI before different high courts, while 11,327 such matters have been filed by accused.
Giving details regarding pending appeals in the sessions courts across the country, the CBI has said 45 such pleas have been filed by the agency while accused have filed 282 appeals.
The affidavit said that as per the provision of section 378 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), if an appeal is to be preferred before the high court against an order of acquittal, no appeal shall be entertained except with the leave of the high court.
"In some cases, leave to appeal is not granted immediately and it takes a lot of time for its admission. For instance, in 2G scam cases, leave to appeal was filed by CBI within the prescribed timeline in year 2018, but the same has not been granted till date. (This also adds on to the difficulties being faced in prosecution of such cases)," it said.
A bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh, which had heard the matter on November 8, noted in its order that one of the two aspects which emerges from the affidavit and with which it is concerned is the stay orders granted by the appellate courts in CBI cases.
The apex court noted that among the bottlenecks pointed out in the affidavit is the fact that the CBI had sent over 150 requests to governments of Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala and Mizoram during the period 2018 to June 2021 for grant of specific consent for investigation of cases in the territory of these states.
"This is so as these eight states have withdrawn the general consent previously granted to DSPE (CBI) under section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946," the bench said.
It said that as per the affidavit, requests in 78 per cent cases are stated to be pending which mainly pertains to bank frauds of high magnitude impacting the economy of the country and this in turn leads to destruction or dissipation of evidence.
"This is certainly not a desirable position," the bench observed in its order.
It said both these aspects need to be addressed judicially by registering an appropriate petition as a public interest petition with notice sent to the concerned states and the high courts.
"We thus deem it appropriate that this aspect should be placed before the Chief Justice of India for his consideration and appropriate orders as it may not have any direct connection with the present case," the bench said.
The apex court had earlier asked the CBI to apprise it about the steps to be taken to strengthen their prosecution unit, the bottlenecks, and also about conviction rate in matters probed by the agency.
These issues had cropped up after the apex court had noted that CBI's appeal against the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order was filed after a delay of 542 days.
In its affidavit filed before the top court, the CBI director has said that the agency has achieved the conviction rate of about 65-70 per cent, and would try to raise it to 75 per cent by August 2022.
It said that CBI has secured the conviction of the accused in 69.83 per cent and 69.19 per cent of the cases in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
The CBI has challenged the high court order passed in a case of allegedly fabricating/creating false evidence by pressuring, inducing, and threatening the eye-witnesses to make false depositions implicating police/ security personnel in the commission of offences of rape and murder of the two women in Shopian.
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