A division bench of the Bombay High Court has referred to its full bench the issue of whether transit bail can be granted by a court to accused in cases registered outside its jurisdiction.
The bench of Justices S S Shinde and S V Kotwal, in its order on May 5, a copy of which was made available on Wednesday, while referring to the matter said it involved the liberty of citizens, and the court would have to address difficulties faced by a probe agency and also ensure the provision (of granting transit bail) is not misused.
The court noted that the matter had to be heard and decided by a full bench, as there was a “vertical rift in the views expressed by different high courts”.
A single bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere had in 2018 referred the issue to the division bench to adjudicate whether transit anticipatory bail can be granted for short duration by courts in cases registered outside its jurisdiction.
The division bench on May 5 said it was an important issue that involved the liberty of citizens.
“The court will have to balance the difficulties of an investigating agency. The provision can be misused either by the accused or even the complainant,” the court said.
“In a given case, only with a view to harass somebody, the informant may choose to file an FIR at a faraway place in India, by showing some part of cause of action there. In such a case, the accused would require some protection to approach that court,” it added.
The High Court said sometimes the accused may also take undue advantage of this provision of obtaining transit bail and then buy time. “Both these mischief must be checked while considering the issue,” it said.
“We are, therefore, of the view that the matter involves the larger interest of citizens and hence, can be more advantageously heard by a larger bench,” the high court said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had argued that orders granting transit bail for a short duration cannot be passed, as legally they are not sustainable and neither a sessions court nor a high court in one state can give protection from arrest in relation to an offence registered in some other state.
Senior counsels Amit Desai and Mihir Desai had told the high court that such orders (granting transit bails) can be passed in the interest of justice, and a reasonable apprehension of any person of his or her arrest should be the guiding factor while passing such an order and not territorial jurisdiction.
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