Delhi High Court: No further extension of interim orders in civil cases; undertrials in heinous crimes to surrender

    The Delhi High Court has directed that there shall be no further extension of interim orders passed in civil cases. Similarly, there shall be no extension of interim bails granted to undertrials involved in heinous crimes.

    A three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel, Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh took this decision in the Suo Moto case In Re Extension of interim orders.

    The Court stated that although extension of interim bails and interim stay orders was necessary in view of limited functioning of the Courts due to complete lockdown in the Country, it said,

    “but now the circumstances have changed and all Courts at High Court and District Court level are operating through physical mode/VC mode and since there is no spread of Covid-19 in the jails and out of about 16,000 prisoners only 3 are infected and they have been isolated and are admitted in hospital, we deem it appropriate to modify our order dated 25th March, 2020 which was lastly extended on 24th August, 2020.”

    The High Court ordered:

    • For 2,318 undertrials who are involved in heinous crimes and were granted interim bail by the District Courts, there shall be no further extension of interim bails under the orders of this Court. (Schedule for surrender in a phased manner from November 2 onwards has been prescribed).
    • For all 356 prisoners granted interim bail by the High Court, they shall surrender before the concerned jail superintendent(s) on November 13, 2020.

    However, the High Court has clarified that the undertrials are at liberty to move the respective Courts for extension of their interim bails and the concerned courts shall consider the said applications on its merits and take a decision accordingly.

    As far as interim orders passed in the civil matters are concerned, the High Court has decided that, “all such interim orders shall cease to have effect on the next date of hearing in the said matters.”

    However, the parties in the civil matters as well are at liberty to move the respective courts for extension of their interim orders, which shall be decided on its merits.

    Further, the High Court has requested the High Power Committee to take a decision in respect of 2,907 prisoners who were released on interim bails based on the Committee’s recommendations. The decision has been requested to be taken within ten days.