Supreme Court on anticipatory bail
- The Supreme Court has ruled that Courts in “extraordinary circumstances” have the discretion to grant protection from arrest to accused even while denying them anticipatory bail.
- The power cannot be exercised in an untrammelled manner, and the order will have to be a reasoned one.
Supreme Court's decision:
- HCs and SC are given powers to grant anticipatory bail to the accused because of the premium that the Constitution places on the right to liberty guaranteed under Article 21.
- The grant or rejection of an application under CrPC has a direct bearing on the right to life and liberty of an individual.
- Therefore, the provision needs to be read liberally and considering its beneficial nature.
- The courts must not read in restrictions that the legislature has not explicitly provided for.
- In doing so, the court may also exercise its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to pass such an order.
The concept of anticipatory bail:
- The provision of anticipatory bail under Section 438 was introduced when CrPC was amended in 1973.
- As opposed to ordinary bail, which is granted to a person who is under arrest, in anticipatory bail, a person is directed to be released on bail even before an arrest is made.
- Time limit: The Supreme Court (SC) in Sushila Aggarwal v. State of NCT of Delhi (2020) case delivered a significant verdict, ruling that no time limit can be set while granting anticipatory Bail and it can continue even until the end of the trial.
- It is issued only by the Sessions Court and High Court.
- The reason for the enactment of Section 438 in the Code was parliamentary acceptance of the crucial underpinning of personal liberty in a free and democratic country.
- Parliament wished to foster respect for personal liberty and accord primacy to a fundamental tenet of criminal jurisprudence, that everyone is presumed to be innocent till he or she is found guilty.