Don't insist on signed 'vakalatnama' in bail matters if applicant in jail or not in Delhi: HC

New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has held that in bail matters, where the applicant is in jail and family members outside the national capital, the applications be accepted without insisting upon attested affidavits and 'vakalatnama', a document authorising a lawyer to represent someone.

The direction was issued by Justice Asha Menon on the plea of a 23-year-old man in judicial custody for more than 10 months, after being arrested in a kidnapping case, whose online bail application was rejected as the 'vakalatnama' was not attested by him or his family members.

The online bail application was rejected by the Facilitation Centre of Dwarka Courts despite him explaining that his lawyer was in Gurugram and his family in Ghaziabad and due to sealing of borders on account of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown the vakalatnama could not be attested, the petition said.

The high court observed that in the instant case, the Facilitation Centre at Dwarka Courts ought to have handled it 'with greater sensitivity'.

'The concern of the District Courts of preventing unauthorized filing of bail applications seems to be rather misplaced, for a bail application is moved for the benefit of a person who is in jail,' the high court said.

It said that even in the high court, mandatory requirements, including with reference to vakalatnama, have been eased 'to facilitate filing and quicker delivery of justice during this unprecedented time of pandemic and lockdown'.  Justice Menon directed the Facilitation Centre at Dwarka Courts, through the District Judge, South-West, 'to forthwith accept the bail application (of the petitioner) with an undertaking by the counsel to file the vakalatnama duly signed within two weeks of the withdrawal of the lockdown'.

The high court further directed that 'in bail matters, there will be no insistence on filing of the signed/attested vakalatnama, signed and attested affidavits or applications where the applicant is in jail and/or of the family members of such an applicant, reside outside Delhi'.

Disposing of the petition, the high court said: 'Physically signed and attested vakalatnama of a person, who is in custody or not residing in Delhi will not be insisted upon by the Facilitation Centre in any of the District Courts in Delhi and nor will bail applications be not accepted only for this reason'. PTI HMP SKV SA