In Landmark Ruling, Top Court Sets 6-Month Expiry Date For Stay Orders

The six-month rule would also apply to all stay orders granted by courts from now.

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In Landmark Ruling, Top Court Sets 6-Month Expiry Date For Stay Orders

Supreme Court ruling can revive thousands of cases stalled for years on one ground or the other.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Six-month shelf life for stay orders by courts, says Supreme Court
  2. A 2016 law ministry study says stay orders held up cases by over 6 years
  3. In exceptional cases, judge would have to outline reason in written order
Stay orders by courts, often blamed for slowing down the judicial process, will come with a six-month shelf life, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a verdict that could revive thousands of cases stalled for years on one ground or the other.

The top court ordered that all cases held up due to a stay order will automatically restart at the end of six months from Wednesday. In exceptional cases if the judge thinks that the stay order should continue for some more time, the judge would have outline the reasons in a written order.

The six-month rule would also apply to all stay orders granted by courts from now.

"In cases where stay is granted in future, the same will end on expiry of six months from the date of such order unless similar extension is granted by a speaking order. The speaking order must show that the case was of such exceptional nature that continuing the stay was more important than having the trial finalized," a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ordered.

The judges ordered that a copy of this decision be sent to all high courts for compliance.
A study commissioned by the law ministry in 2016 was reported to have concluded that stay on proceedings by the high courts and the Supreme Court delayed trials by up to 6.5 years.

Wednesday's verdict was delivered in a case registered by the CBI nearly two decades back for a scam in building roads in the national capital. When the trial court formally charged the accused, they had gone to the high court which had stayed the proceedings till it decided the main petition. In 2013, the case reached the Supreme Court.

"Remedy is required not only for corruption cases but for all civil and criminal cases where on account of stay, civil and criminal proceedings are held up," Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Navin Sinha ruled in their verdict. Justice RF Nariman, by a separate verdict, agreed with the conclusion reached the two judges on the petition at hand but did not refer to the six-month deadline.
 


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