Wednesday, August 24, 2022

High Court Can Grant "Transit Anticipatory Bail" To Person Apprehending Arrest Even In Absence Of FIR: Gujarat HC

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The Gujarat High Court has made it clear that a person apprehending arrest can seek "transit anticipatory bail" so as to obtain time to approach the competent Court having territorial jurisdiction in the matter, even in the absence of registration of FIR.

A bench of Justice Nikhil S. Kariel observed,

"if for an offence of the like nature which had been committed within the State of Gujarat, this Court being competent to decide the application and being competent to grant anticipatory bail to the said applicants, in the considered opinion of this Court, it would also be competent for this Court to grant transit anticipatory bail in favour of the applicants even where there is no FIR filed against the applicants in a State other then the State of Gujarat and whereas the applicants have only projected reasonable apprehension of their arrest before this Court."

The bench heavily relied on the Bombay High Court's judgment in NK Nayar & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., 1985 CriLJ 1887.

The observation was made while dealing with an application filed by the wife and father-in-law of one Jimit Shanghavi, who had committed suicide at his residence in Maharashtra and had left behind a note mentioning domestic disputes, resulting in depression.

The Applicants stated that while there was no FIR against them, the suicide note probably implicated them and thus, there was a reasonable apprehension of arrest. They sought transit anticipatory bail for a reasonable period of time to approach the Court in Maharashtra.

The APP opposed the application on the ground that transit anticipatory bail may not be granted where FIR was absent since as such there was no reasonable apprehension of their arrest.

Justice Karile, while reiterating that anticipatory bail can be granted without FIR, identified the main issue worth consideration as whether the High Court can grant protection to a person apprehending arrest in a different state in absence of FIR, till the hearing of the case is taken up.

Answering this question in the affirmative, Justice Kariel granted relief for 30 days and cautioned that if the Applicants failed to approach the competent court in Maharashtra, the transit anticipatory bail would automatically be cancelled. 

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