SC reverses 2018 ruling regarding automatic vacation of stay orders

by IANS |

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday reversed a 2018 ruling regarding automatic vacation of stay orders beyond six months.

A five-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI), DY Chandrachud, said on Thursday that ordinarily constitutional courts should not fix time-bound schedules for disposal of cases pending in any court.

“The pattern of pendency of various categories of cases in courts, including High Courts, is different. The situation at the grass root level is better known to the judges of the courts concerned. Therefore, the issue of giving an out-of-turn hearing to certain cases should be best left to the courts concerned,” it said, adding that the order fixing the outer limit for the disposal of cases should be passed in exceptional circumstances to meet extraordinary situations.

The verdict authored by Justice Abhay S Oka, and concurred by Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, including CJI Chandrachud, held that there cannot be automatic vacation of stay and issued guidelines over grant of interim relief and its vacation.

Justice Pankaj Mithal authored a separate but concurring opinion.

In March 2018, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (now retired) in the case of Asian Resurfacing Of Road Agency Pvt. Ltd. versus CBI, had laid down that duration of stay in legal proceedings should not exceed six months, unless specifically extended by the court through a speaking order.

Noting that proceedings are adjourned indefinitely on account of stays, it had ordered that in all pending cases where stay against proceedings of a civil or criminal trial is operating the same will come to an end on expiry of six months, unless extended by a speaking order in an exceptional case.

“The speaking order must show that the case was of such exceptional nature that continuing the stay was more important than having the trial finalised,” it had said.

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