CJI DY Chandrachud: District Judges are Hesitant to Grant Bail, Resulting in Flood of Bail Petitions in High Courts

Justice DY Chandrachud Law Insider

Akansha Upadhyay

Published on: 21 November 2022 at 21:19 IST

Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said that there has been a flood of bail petitions in the High Courts as the district judiciary is reluctant to grant bail for fear of being targeted. Justice Chandrachud was speaking at an event organized by the Bar Council of India to felicitate him after taking over as the Chief Justice of India.

“Reason why higher judiciary is getting flooded with bail applications is because of the reluctance of the grassroots to grant bail and why are judges at grassroot hesitant to grant bail. Not because they don’t have the ability.”

“They understand it probably better than higher court judges because they know crime is at grassroot level but there is a sense of fear that, ‘If I grant bail, will somebody target me tomorrow that I granted bail in a heinous case?” the judge said.

The CJI said that no one talks about this feeling of fear, but it is necessary to face the issue to ensure that the lower judiciary does not become toothless and inactive.

“If you commit an error, surely that error is amenable to correction and it is not that we are Supreme Court and we never commit errors. As they always say, ‘the Supreme Court is not final because it is right, but it is right because it is final’”

The CJI emphasized that the District Judiciary is as important as the High Court and the Supreme Court.

“That is why I always say that our district Judiciary is not a subordinate judiciary, but is a judiciary which is equally important such as High Court or Supreme Court. The Supreme Court lays down all these big-ticket judgments on important issues, but the district judiciary in that small place defines peace, the happiness, and faith of common citizens,” the CJI said.

The judge also pointed out that the district judges also face the problem of poor infrastructure.  While the central government has envisaged a large number of schemes, it is important for the government to transfer funds to the judicial system to ensure that they can improve the infrastructure.

Despite the issues, the judge acknowledged how the district judiciary had functioned even during the COVID pandemic and the Bar kept “the torch burning and the flag flying high” while protecting the middle-aged lawyers.

“If district judges don’t have confidence in themselves and their own position in the hierarchical system, then how can we expect district judge to grant bail in important case. There are provisos (in statutes) which say that there should not be bail such as in heinous offences..”

“…we as judges know that sometimes people are roped in some such offences and even information is exaggerated; and this is where district judge’s role is to weed them out. Else the higher courts and Supreme Court is getting flooded with such bail petitions,” the judge warned.

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