Supreme Court Reprimand HCs Practice of Granting Anticipatory Bails on Ground of no Custodial Interrogation Needed

Supreme Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 29 October 2022 at 10:38 IST

Recently, the SC denigrated the practice of high courts of granting anticipatory bail to the applicants in criminal cases on the ground of no custodial interrogation being needed.

The bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala observes that there is a serious misunderstanding that if there is no contrary reason against the granting of anticipatory bail to an accused, it is more than enough.

“In many anticipatory bail matters, we have noticed one common argument being canvassed that no custodial interrogation is required and, therefore, anticipatory bail may be granted. There appears to be a serious misconception of law that if no case for custodial interrogation is made out by the prosecution, then that alone would be a good ground to grant anticipatory bail.

Further, the bench highlighted that the court should understand custodial interrogation as one of the relevant parameters to be considered while dealing with an anticipatory bail application.

The Bench stressed that it is possible that there may be matters where custodial interrogation is not exactly needed, but still, it does not mean to fully evade the prima facie case against accused. Bringing it to notice that the prima facie material facts of the case are of the utmost importance in adjuging the application of anticipatory bail.

The observations were culled out while hearing the plea against anticipatory bail granted to an accused implicated under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, in the Wayanad district of Kerala.

“Thereafter, the nature of the offence should be looked into along with the severity of the punishment. Custodial interrogation can be one of the grounds to decline anticipatory bail. However, even if custodial interrogation is not required or necessitated, by itself, cannot be a ground to grant anticipatory bail,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court criticized the observations made by the high court, stating it had been made without regard to the specific allegations in the FIR.

The court set aside anticipatory bail granted to the accused and said, “In a case containing such serious allegations, the High Court ought not to have exercised its jurisdiction in granting protection against arrest as the Investigating Officer deserves a free hand to take the probe to its logical conclusion.”

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