Supreme Court says HCs can’t reject anticipatory bail and then grant 90-day protection from arrest

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose noted that courts are granting protection from arrest to accused for long periods like 90 days, though no case for anticipatory bail is made out. The bench also laid down that a high court could pass such protective orders under Section 482 of the the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which recognises the HC’s inherent power to pass directions in the interest of justice.

The CJI said the HCs and the SC were 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. “This provision (section 482) reflects the reality that no law or rule can possibly account for the complexities of life, and the infinite range of circumstances that may arise in the future,” the bench noted. The Court clarified the legal position, as it held in favour of a high court exercising such powers under the CrPC to secure the ends of justice.

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