Monday, December 18, 2023

High Courts must ensure earliest listing of bail applications/ anticipatory bail applications: Supreme Court

In order to safeguard judicial practices which are "detrimental to the liberty of a person", on December 11, 2023, in it order, Supreme Court's Bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sanjay Kumar "held and reiterated that decisions on anticipatory bail applications / bail applications, are concerned with the liberty and therefore, shall be taken up and disposed of, expeditiously. On 21.02.2022 in SLP (Crl) No.1247/2022, a Bench of three Judges of this Court reiterated the same view. Virtually, this Court deprecated the practice of admitting the bail applications and thereafter deferring decisions on it unduly. The case on hand reveals recurrence of such a situation despite the repeated pronouncements of this Court on very issue." 
It observed that "We have no hesitation to hold that such an order sans definiteness in the matter relating to anticipatory bail/regular bail, that too after admitting the matter, would definitely delay due consideration of the application and such an eventuality will be detrimental to the liberty of a person. It is taking into account such aspects that this Court held that such matters pertaining to personal liberty shall be taken up and decided at the earliest. It is a matter of concern that despite repeated orders, the same situation continues."

The order reads: "we request the learned Single Judge of the High Court to dispose of the pending anticipatory bail application, pending adjudication before him, on its own merits and in accordance with law, expeditiously and preferably within a period of four weeks from the receipt/ production of this Order. Till such time, we grant interim production from arrest to the petitioner. We also make it clear that the grant of interim protection shall not influence the consideration of the bail application moved by the petitioner and it shall be considered on its own merits. In view of the recurrence of the said situation in different courts, the Registry shall send a copy of this order to the Ld. Registrar General and all concerned of all High Courts so as to ensure listing of bail applications/ anticipatory bail applications at the earliest.

The case arose out of impugned final judgment and order dated 05-12-2023 in MCRCA No. 1434/2023 passed by the High Court of Chhatisgarh at Bilaspur.

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