The Supreme Court on Thursday reversed its 2018 ruling that restricted the validity of interim stay orders granted by courts in civil and criminal cases to six months, reported Bar and Bench.

In the 2018 Asian Resurfacing Of Road Agency versus Central Bureau Of Investigation case, a three-judge bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel, Navin Sinha and Rohinton Nariman held that stay orders in all criminal and civil proceedings would be valid only for six months unless specifically extended.

The top court had ruled that trial courts could resume proceedings after six months from the issuance of stay orders by higher courts. However, in August 2019, it clarified that the six-month cap on interim stay orders will not be applied to Supreme Court orders.

On Thursday, a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Abhay S Oka, JB Pardiwala, Pankaj Mithal and Manoj Misra stated that it does “not agree” with the 2018 ruling.

"A direction [that] stay of all interim orders passed by the High Court automatically expires with lapse is something which cannot be issued under Article 142 [of the Constitution],” the bench said. “Constitutional courts should refrain from laying down time bound schedules for cases pending before any other courts.”

Article 142 empowers the Supreme Court to pass any decree or order in any matter pending before it.

A division bench of the Supreme Court in December expressed reservations about the 2018 judgement and referred the matter to a five-judge bench, which heard arguments from senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi, Vijay Hansaria, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta and advocates Mahfooz Nazki and Amit Pai.

None of the lawyers who appeared in the matter supported the automatic vacation of stay orders, according to Bar and Bench.