The Supreme Court in its order passed on Thursday, “reminded the magistrates all over the country” that any stay granted by any court will “automatically expire” within six-months unless “extended for good reasons.”
The top court was hearing a matter between Asian Resurfacing Road Agency Pvt Ltd vs CBI.
The Court quoted the principle laid down by the Apex Court in the judgment rendered by a Bench of Justices AK Goel, Rohinton Nariman and Navin Sinha which read,
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.The trial Court where order of stay of civil or criminal proceedings is produced, may fix a date not beyond six months of the order of stay so that on expiry of period of stay, proceedings can commence unless order of extension of stay is produced.
However the three-judge bench also noted that Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pune had passed an order in December 2019, refusing to resume trial after the expiry of six months period, as mandated by the Supreme Court and had instead asked the parties to approach the Bombay High Court to resume trial.
The top court said that:
Such an order flies in the face of the apex court judgment.
Adding further the bench quoted:
We must remind the Magistrates all over the country that in our pyramidical structure under the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court is at the Apex, and the High Courts, though not subordinate administratively, are certainly subordinate judicially. This kind of orders fly in the face of para 35 of our judgment. We expect that the Magistrates all over the country will follow our order in letter and spirit.
The Supreme Court reiterated its verdict that
Whatever stay has been granted by any Court, including the High Court, automatically expires within a period of six months, and unless extension is granted for good reason, as per our judgment, within the next six months, the trial Court is, on the expiry of the first period of six months, to set a date for the trial and go ahead with the same.
The top court bench has now directed the ACJM, Pune to immediately set the case for hearing.
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