Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Decide on pre-arrest bail plea quickly: HC

The Bombay high court has held that the hearing of an anticipatory bail plea can be adjourned without passing an order, giving relief from arrest, but only for a short period.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar gave her verdict on a couple's plea for interim bail until the sessions court decides on their application for anticipatory bail. Their advocates, Abad Ponda and Sujay Kantawalla, argued the court will either reject it or pass an interim order, but there is no third option to adjourn the hearing without granting interim relief to the applicant or accused. They also submitted an application of pre-arrest bail cannot be kept pending for a long time and the applicant must be informed, at the earliest, if he is protected or his application is rejected.
Opposing the application, the prosecutor and the complainant's advocate argued in serious offences when a short notice of a day is given and the prosecutor is unable to contact and take instructions from the investigating officer, granting of interim protection will amount to miscarriage of justice as it may hamper investigation or cause tampering or destruction of evidence. They argued the court can adjourn the hearing without either rejecting or granting interim relief.
Justice Bhatkar, in her May 8, 2014, judgment, though, said it is not mandatory for the court to decide "this way or that way". She said the power of anticipatory bail is to be carefully used as the court has to achieve a balance between protection of an individual's liberty and effective and unhampered investigation by the state machinery. "Thus, when a case cannot be classified as black and white but there is a grey area or a borderline case that needs some time for a judge to get the correct picture, though prima facie, to decide fairly the application for pre-arrest bail.'' Justice Bhatkar said law permits to adjourn or postpone any inquiry or trial but it is to be heard expeditiously. She directed that the interim protection granted to the accused couple may continue till the sessions judge hears their anticipatory bail plea.

No comments:

Post a Comment