In Criminal Appeal No. 3589 of 2023, in the case of High Court Bar Association VS State of UP, the SC emphasized that High Courts are constitutionally independent and not subordinate to the Supreme Court. The judgement reiterated the High Courts’ power to vacate or modify interim orders under certain conditions.

The court held that interim orders cannot automatically expire simply due to the lapse of time, particularly if the litigant is not responsible for the delay. The judgement critiqued the earlier Asian Resurfacing decision’s approach to automatic vacation of stay orders.

The Supreme Court’s power under Article 142 is discussed, underscoring that it is meant for doing complete justice but cannot be used to nullify valid judicial orders or ignore substantive legal rights.

The judgement concluded that blanket directions for automatic vacation of stay orders or time-bound disposal of cases cannot be issued under Article 142. It provided guidance for High Courts when dealing with interim orders and emphasized that constitutional courts should avoid fixing a time-bound schedule for case disposals.

The judgement clarified that in cases where trials have concluded due to the automatic vacation of stay based on the Asian Resurfacing decision, those orders shall remain valid.

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.