The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the High Courts of Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Patna, Bombay and Odisha to submit reports on the number of criminal appeals pending with them, Live Law reported.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai expressed concern about criminal appeals that have been pending in High Courts for more than two decades.

The Supreme Court was hearing the bail application of a murder convict, Khursheed Ahmad. A trial court had sentenced him to life imprisonment. But an appeal against the verdict had been pending before the Allahabad High Court for a long time.

The Supreme Court told the six High Courts to state the total number of convicts who were awaiting hearings. It has also asked them to state the number of such cases in which the convicts had got bail, according to Live Law.

Justice Rao asked the Allahabad High Court to inform the court of the oldest criminal appeals that were pending before it. To this, the counsel representing the court stated that the oldest ones were from 1980.

“That means 42 years,” the judge remarked. “The trial would have taken 4-5 years. So the person who has committed an offence in the 1970s, at the age of 30-40 years would be 80-90 years now.”

On April 30, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had alleged that inaction by the executive and legislative shortcomings were responsible for the pendency of cases in courts, according to the Hindustan Times. He also spoke about the government not clearing the appointments of High Court judges.

He had made the remarks at a conference of chief ministers and High Court chief justices in Delhi. At the same event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that “easy justice, speedy justice, and justice for all” should be the hallmark of the judiciary when the country completes 100 years of Independence, according to the newspaper.