Published on: November 21, 2023 at 12:38 IST
The Supreme Court has asserted that both High Courts and Sessions Courts hold the authority to grant interim or transit anticipatory bail, even when a First Information Report (FIR) is filed in another state.
The Court overturned the decisions of the Patna High Court in Syed Zafrul Hassan and the Calcutta High Court in Sadhan Chandra Kolay, specifically challenging their stance that the High Court lacks jurisdiction to grant extra-territorial anticipatory bail, even in limited or transit situations.
The Supreme Court outlined the following conditions for the grant of limited anticipatory bail:
- Notice to Investigating Officer and Public Prosecutor: Before issuing an order of limited anticipatory bail, the court must provide notice to the investigating officer and public prosecutor involved in the FIR on the first day of the hearing. The court retains the discretion to grant interim anticipatory bail in suitable cases.
- Reasoned Order: The order granting limited anticipatory bail must furnish detailed reasons explaining the applicant’s fear of inter-state arrest and the potential impact of such protection on the ongoing investigation.
- Offence not excluded from the scope of anticipatory bail by state amendment: The jurisdiction where the offense’s cognizance has been taken does not exclude the offense from anticipatory bail’s scope through a State Amendment to Section 438 of the CrPC.
- Grounds to be pleaded: The applicant seeking anticipatory bail must persuade the court of their inability to seek relief from the court with territorial jurisdiction. Grounds for such requests may include immediate threats to life, violations of personal liberty, arbitrary actions, or medical status/disability.
- Only in Exceptional and Compelling Circumstances: The power to grant extra-territorial anticipatory bail is reserved for exceptional and compelling circumstances. The court emphasized that this authority should only be exercised when the denial of such relief would cause irreparable harm to the applicant.
Additionally, the Court highlighted the potential abuse of the legal process and stressed the necessity for a territorial connection or proximity between the accused and the court’s jurisdiction where anticipatory bail is sought.
The Court expressed concerns about forum shopping by the accused and emphasized the need for a genuine territorial link, such as place of residence, occupation, work, or profession.
The judgment also addressed challenges in cross-jurisdictional arrests, recognizing the police’s obligation to secure a transit remand when making an arrest beyond the jurisdiction where the offense is registered. To address the complexities arising from such arrests, the Court proposed the concept of ‘transit anticipatory bail’ as a necessary legal innovation.
Case titled: Priya Indoria v. State of Karnataka