Stay on Civil Criminal trial proceedings will automatically lapse after Six Months - Supreme Court

03 Apr 2018

Recently, in a remarkable judgment of Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Pvt. Ltd. VS. Central Bureau of Investigation [1]the Hon'ble Supreme Court directed that stay on all Civil as well as Criminal trials proceedings will lapse in six month of this present order, unless in exceptional cases followed by the speaking order with the reasoning such stay can be extended. Moreover, the three Judge Bench consisting of Justice AK Goel, Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha  held that not in the present case, but also in future whenever the stay will be granted, the same will lapse after the six month of that order.

This very judgment dealing with the issue of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 presented with this directions, herein the issues raised before the High Court was:

·  Order framing charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 can be treated to be as interlocutory order and can the exercise of revision power of the Court can be barred ?

·  Can  Section 19 of the PC Act which bars the revision would also bar the exercise of power under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. for all purposes?

Order framing charge can be assailed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India?
The Delhi HC answered aforementioned questions as follows:

The HC said that order framing charge under PC Act is an interlocutory order. The HC also observed that Section 19(3)(c) clearly bars revision against an interlocutory order and thus, revision shall not be maintainable.

Supreme Court's Observation:

The Supreme Court held that : “Order framing charge is not purely an interlocutory order nor a final order. Jurisdiction of the High Court is not barred irrespective of the label of a petition, be it under Sections 397 or 482 Cr.P.C. or Article 227 of the Constitution. However, the said jurisdiction is to be exercised consistent with the legislative policy to ensure expeditious disposal of a trial without the same being in any manner hampered. Thus considered, the challenge to an order of charge should be entertained in a rarest of rare case only to correct a patent error of jurisdiction and not to reappreciate the matter. Even where such challenge is entertained and stay is granted, the matter must be decided on day-to-day basis so that stay does not operate for an unduly long period. Though no mandatory time limit may be fixed, the decision may not exceed two-three months normally. If it remains pending longer, duration of stay should not exceed six months, unless extension is granted by a specific speaking order, as already indicated”.

Moreover, it was also said by the apex Court that the trial Courts may, on expiry of the mentioned period can resume the proceedings without delaying, unless any other express order regarding to extension of stay is produced.

[1] 2018 SCC OnLine 310

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