SC condemns grant of long protection while rejection of pre-arrest bail pleas by Allahabad HC

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New Delhi, July 5 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday expressed dissatisfaction over granting of protection from arrest to accused persons for a long period of time while dismissing their anticipatory bail applications by the Allahabad High Court.

“We condemn these kinds of orders. We see the Allahabad High Court passing orders granting protection for 90 days,” a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said.

The observation of top court came during the hearing of appeals by two women, accused in a dowry death case, challenging the Allahabad High Court's January 12 order by which their plea for grant of anticipatory bail was declined.

However, the high court had restrained the Uttar Pradesh police from taking any coercive action against them for 90 days and had made clear that investigators may take any coercive action after the expiry of protection period.

The apex court bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, issued notice to the state government on the appeal of Leelavati Devi alias Leelawati and Radha Devi in the dowry death case lodged in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and extended their protection against coercive action by four weeks.

“Issue notice returnable in four weeks. Dasti service, in addition, is permitted. Liberty is also granted to serve the Standing counsel for the State of Uttar Pradesh. In the meantime, interim protection is granted to the petitioners for a period of four weeks from today,” it said.

It asked the women to cooperate in the investigation and listed the plea after four weeks.

“The applicants are not entitled to be granted anticipatory bail. The offences alleged are prima facie made out from the allegations in the FIR. However, in view of the entirety of facts and circumstances of the case, it is directed, on the request of counsel for the applicants, that in case the applicants appear and surrender before the court below within 90 days from today and apply for bail, their prayer for bail shall be considered and decided as per the settled law...,” the single judge bench of the high court had said.

“Till then no coercive action shall be taken against the applicants,” the high court had also said.

The observations of the apex court assumes significance as the CJI-led bench, on May 28, had held in a judgement that the courts must come out with reasoned order for granting protection from arrest to a person while rejecting the application for anticipatory bail.

Writing the judgement for the bench, the CJI had said when such orders are passed, courts must balance the concerns of investigating agency, complainant and the society at large as grant or rejection of an application seeking bail for a person apprehending arrest has a direct bearing on the fundamental right to life and liberty of an individual.

The verdict had come on two separate pleas challenging the orders passed by the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed the anticipatory bail pleas of accused in two cases but granted them protection from coercive action for 90 days to surrender before the trial court to seek regular bail. PTI SJK ABA MNL SA

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