Denial of the hearing of a bail request by courts violates the rights of the accused, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday, adding that urgent cases involving personal liberty should be taken up for hearing without any delay. The court said not listing an application for a regular bail "impinges upon the liberty of the person in custody".
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by an industrialist, Chunni Lal Gabba, who is accused of money laundering. His bail plea was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court since February 2020. He approached the Supreme Court after the high court rejected his request for an early hearing.
"The accused has a right to hearing of his application for bail. In fact, the denial of hearing is an infringement of right and liberty assured to an accused," a Supreme Court bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said. The court asked the Punjab and Haryana High Court to hear the industrialist's bail plea at the earliest.
The bench said under the current circumstances of the pandemic, at least half of the judges should sit on alternative days "so that hearing is accorded to the person in distress."
"Non-listing of application for regular bail, irrespective of seriousness or lack thereof, of the offences attributed to the accused, impinges upon the liberty of the person in custody."