SUSHILA AGGARWAL AND OTHERS V. STATE (NCT OF DELHI) BY GRISHMA SHETTY @ LEXCLIQ

SUSHILA AGGARWAL AND OTHERS V. STATE (NCT OF DELHI)

BY GRISHMA SHETTTY AT LEXCLIQ

INTROCUCTION:

Instances of reputed individuals being falsely implicated by their political rivals were on the rise. The intent behind this was to harass them by putting them behind the bars. Personal liberty is an important fact of the right to life. It became necessary to protect the liberty of such individuals. Though section 438 of Criminal procedure code, 1973 provides for anticipatory bail but does not define it.

Background –

Different benches of the apex court have held different opinions with regards to the time limit of an anticipatory bail granted to a person under section 438 of Cr.P.C. in the year 1980, the supreme court in the case of Gurbaksh Singh sibbia and others v. state of Punjab rules that there cannot be a persistent formula for granting bail. Thus, a narrow interpretation should not be given to it under section 438 and it is the discretion of the court to direct the duration of the trial.

In the case of Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh v. state of Maharashtra the apex court held that the order of anticipatory bail has to be necessarily time bound. In the case of uday mohanlal Acharya v. state of Maharashtra the court observed that even if the accused is on bail, at the stage of committal proceedings, the magistrate has power to cancel the bail and commit him to custody.

The apex court in the case of HDFC Bank LTD. V. J.J.Mannan and Satpal Singh v. state of Punjab that once an investigation makes a case against a person and then the charge sheet made includes his name, the accused will have to surrender to the custody of the court and will have to pray for justice.

Sushila Aggarwal and others v. state (NCT of Delhi) and another

The bench of 5 judges of Supreme Court while giving a significant verdict in the instant case held anticipatory bail is not fixed for a particular period and can continue till the end of the trial. However, if any special or peculiar features necessitates putting a limitation on the anticipatory bail’s tenure, courts are free to do it.

The conflicting views of benches with different strengths of supreme court as mentioned above with regards to the question of the time limit of an anticipatory bail required certain questions to be referred to a court as mentioned above with regards to the question of the time limit of an anticipatory bail required certain questions to be referred to a large bench.

Observations made by court:

The constitutional bench by pointing towards the difference in forms of arrest under section 438 and 437, stated that the bail under section 438 is sought when there is an apprehension of arrest and alter is taken recourse at the stage when sufficient data is available to the court and thus no special case need to be made out in granting bail under section 438. The court have to very cautiously exercise the power granted to them under section 438 and cannot be invoked on vague allegations Hon’ble Justice Ravidra Bhatt interpreted section 438 as an essential element of article 21 of the indian constitution. According to Justice Bhatt, unreasonable restrictions cannot be imposed on the right to anticipatory bail. Further, the provision of section 438 is a procedural legal path that concerns the personal liberty of freedom.

Section 438(2) of Cr.P.C along with section 438(3) lay enough safeguards for the authorities to prohibit the accused to escape from the authorities. Any kind of violations of the conditions imposed on him will lead to his arrest under section 439(2). The accused who has been granted anticipatory bail will continue to be at liberty even if charge sheet is filed but it is his duty to cooperate with the police and to carefully follow all the conditions. With regards to the conflicting opinions of the Supreme Court in different cases, the court held the judgment given in Siddharam Mehta v. state of Maharashtra and the judgment that followed to be bas in law and thus stands overruled. The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Gurbaksh Singh sibbia v. state of Punjab is considered as the law and it needs reiteration.

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