What happened till now?
- The Supreme Court has notified the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2019, which empowers the Chief justice of India to appoint single-judge benches to hear pleas for bail and transfer of cases.
- The amended Rules also give the CJI complete discretion to notify the category of cases that could be heard and disposed of by the Single Judge Bench.
- The move marks a difference from the procedure followed till now.
- Till now, under Order VI, Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules of 2013 , a Bench of the court had to consist of a minimum of two judges.
- But the amendments will allow the apex Court to constitute a Single Judge Bench like in the High Courts.
- According to the notification, issued on 17 September, the Single Judge Bench, nominated by the CJI, would hear appeals arising out of grant, dismissal or rejection of bail or anticipatory bail for offences punishable with imprisonment up to seven years.
- In addition to it, the single judge benches would also hear appeals filed under
- Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for transfer of cases from one High Court to the other or one criminal court to another to serve the “ends of justice”.
- Cases of transfer of an “urgent nature” applied under Section 25 of the CrPC will also be handled by the single judge bench from now on.
- The new notification allows advocates enrolled in any State Bar Council under the Advocates Act to appear and argue a case in person directly without getting a nod from the Registrar concerned.
- Before the notification, the court had the expansion of the Supreme Court. Its judicial strength has increased from 31 to 34.
- Apart from that two more courtrooms have also been added to the court.
- It is believed that the primary reason behind the rules being amended is to tackle the mounting pendency of around 60,000 cases.
- After the rules comes into effect the Single Judge Benches which so far these functioned only during vacation will start to function on a regular basis.