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By no stretch of imagination, anticipatory bail is rule: Supreme Court

'When warrant of arrest or proclamation is issued against an accused, he is not entitled to invoke the extraordinary power of the court to seek anticipatory bail, though it may still not deprive the court from granting pre arrest bail in extreme and exceptional cases,' the SC bench observed.
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 15 March 2024, 05:23 IST
Last Updated : 15 March 2024, 05:23 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said in the absence of any interim order, pendency of an application for anticipatory bail would not bar the trial court in issuing coercive steps for proclamation against an accused due to his continued defiance.

A bench of Justices C T Ravikumar and Sanjay Kumar said though in many cases, it has been held that bail is said to be a rule, it cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be said that anticipatory bail is the rule.

However, the court emphasised, the power to grant anticipatory bail is an extraordinary power, which is exercised by the courts as cautious and judicious discretion.

"When warrant of arrest or proclamation is issued against an accused, he is not entitled to invoke the extraordinary power of the court to seek anticipatory bail, though it may still not deprive the court from granting pre arrest bail in extreme and exceptional cases," the court said in a judgment on Thursday.

The bench said the anticipatory bail cannot be the rule and the question of its grant should be left to the cautious and judicious discretion by the court depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.

The bench pointed out grant of interim protection or protection to the accused in serious cases may lead to miscarriage of justice and may hamper the investigation to a great extent as it may sometimes lead to tampering or distraction of the evidence.

"When warrant of arrest or proclamation is issued, the applicant is not entitled to invoke the extraordinary power. Certainly, this will not deprive the power of the court to grant pre-arrest bail in extreme, exceptional cases in the interest of justice. But then, person(s) continuously, defying orders and keep absconding is not entitled to such grant," the bench observed.

The court declined any relief to petitioners Srikant Upadhyay and others against the Patna High Court's order, which dismissed their plea anticipatory bail of the appellant.

The SC bench further noted even after issuance of non bailable warrants, the petitioners did not care to appear before the trial court and did not apply for regular bail after its recalling.

"Even after coming to know about the proclamation under Section 82 CrPC, they did not take any steps to challenge the same or to enter appearance before the trial court to avert the consequences," the bench ruled.

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Published 15 March 2024, 05:23 IST

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