Ranchi, Aug. 18: Jharkhand High Court is planning to hear pending criminal appeals of women and old convicts as well as patients suffering from terminal diseases on a priority basis on Saturdays.
Acting Chief Justice D.N. Patel, who is known for implementing innovative methods to dispose of cases, has come up with this novel concept to work on a holiday to spare the convicts, who are languishing in jail for years, of further agony. As such, the Saturday courts will be the first of its kind in the country and will especially hear appeals pending at the high court.
Justice Patel, who will be accompanied by Justice S. Chandrashekhar, is likely to start the Saturday courts on a pilot basis early next month.
The Saturday court concept was prompted by a survey conducted by a team of advocates appointed by Justice Patel.
The advocates surveyed all central jails of the state and came back with findings that a huge number of appeals involving the aged and infirm, women convicts and patients with terminal diseases like cancer had been pending for a long time.
“The survey team found out that in several cases, there was a delay of more than 3,000 days in filing of appeals by the convicts, who are rotting in jails.”
“They have the right to seek legal remedy that is guaranteed by the Constitution. We will give priority to women, people aged 80 years and above and patients suffering from terminal diseases,” Justice Patel said while speaking to The Telegraph.
The survey also revealed that more than 200 women prisoners were staying with their minor children in jail.
“It’s a pathetic situation for both the convicts and their children, more so when their cases are not being pleaded by anyone for want of funds and resources,” Justice Patel added.
“To work on a Saturday, the high court will need the services of judges and non-judicial staff.”
“The non-judicial staff will have to be paid remuneration for working on a holiday. Discussions on payments are on with the state government,” said a senior high court official.
“This has to come as a voluntary gesture from judges and other people involved with the judicial process. It will go a long way in offering redressal to prisoners, who don’t have anyone to fight for their rights,” another court official said.