Kolkata: Calcutta High Court sat on a holiday on Saturday to hear old appeal cases in a bid to reduce the backlog of cases. The high court functions from Monday to Friday and this is probably the first time since its inception in 1862 that it held a sitting on a Saturday, cancelling holiday.
The initiative was in deference to desire expressed by Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Mishra through a letter in September to the chief justices of all high courts to hold special bench on Saturday to hear old criminal appeals.
“This is the first time that the high court is sitting on a Saturday,” Public Prosecutor Saswata Gopal Mukherjee said.
A division bench comprising Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice R Bharadwaj heard 17 appeals, in most of which the convicts have already served their sentences but their appeals were pending or a short part of their term has been left to be gone through.
In one of the appeals by a person convicted for killing his neighbour and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, the bench reduced the jail term to eight years.
Julmuddin Sheikh of Nalhati in Birbhum, whose appeal was pending before the high court since 2010, was convicted by the lower court for killing his neighbour during a fight over a cow eating boiled paddy.
He has nearly served eight years in prison and as such would be released soon owing to today’s order, Sheikh’s counsel Ashraf Ali said. Other appeals were mostly related to cases of gangrape, rape of minors and drug trafficking.