For the first time in Supreme Court history, single judge bench to hear bail pleas

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Sep 21: The Supreme Court has deviated from the present convention of either a Division Bench or three-judge Bench hearing bail and transfer cases.

The new rules now provide for a single judge to hear such cases. Once implemented, it would be for the first time that a single judge will hear cases relating to bail and transfer issues.

The decision was taken in the wake of the Supreme Court having 34 judges for the first time since 1950. This move would help reduce pendency as well. There are 59,616 cases awaiting adjudication in the Supreme Court.

Currently, order VI, rule 1 of "The Supreme Court Rules, 2013" states that cases shall be heard by a Bench of not less than two judges."

SC to have permanent Constitution Bench starting October 1

The Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules 2019 says that a Single Judge Bench may hear special leave petitions arising out of grant, dismissal or rejection of bail applications, anticipatory bail applications in matters filed against the order passed under Section 437, 438 or 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure involving offences punishable with sentence up to seven years imprisonment.

The single judge shall be nominated by the Chief Justice of India to decide cases for transferring civil suits and criminal cases from one court to another under Section 25 of the CrPC. These cases too would be decided by single judge Benches.

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