• Anticipatory Bail- How Distinguishable From Bail

  • The distinction between an  ordinary order of bail & an order  of Anticipatory Bail

    The distinction  between an  ordinary order of bail and an order  of anticipatory bail is that whereas the former is granted after  arrest and  therefore means  release from the custody of the police, the latter is granted in anticipation of arrest  and is  therefore effective at the very moment of arrest. Police custody is  an  inevitable  concomitant  of arrest for  non-bailable offences.  An order of anticipatory bail constitutes,  so to  say, an  insurance against  police custody following  upon arrest for offence  or offences  in respect of which the order is issued. In other words, unlike a post-arrest  order of bail, it  is a  pre-arrest  legal process which  directs that if the person in whose favour it is issued  is  thereafter  arrested  on  the  accusation  in respect of  which the  direction is  issued,  he  shall  be released on  bail. 

    Section  46(1) of  the Code of  Criminal Procedure which deals with  how arrests  are  to  be  made, provides that  in making  the arrest  the police  officer or other person  making the  arrest "shall  actually  touch  or confine the  body of the person to be arrested, unless there be a  submission to  the custody  by  word  or action".  A direction  under  section  438  is  intended  to confer conditional immunity  from this 'touch' or confinement.  

    There is no hard and fast formula for a Sessions Judge and/ or High Courts to allow and/ or reject the Applications for an anticipatory Bail. Generalisations on matters which rest on discretion and the attempt  to discover formulae of  universal application when facts  are bound  to differ from case to case frustrate the very  purpose of conferring discretion on the Courts. No two cases are alike on  facts and  therefore, Courts have to be allowed a little free  play in the  joints if the  conferment  of discretionary power  is to  be meaningful.  There is no risk involved in  entrusting a  wide discretion  to the  Court of Session and  the High  Court in granting anticipatory bail because,  firstly  these  are higher courts manned  by experienced persons,  secondly their order are not final but are open  to appellate or revisional scrutiny and above all because, discretion  has always to be exercised by  courts judicially and not according  to whim, caprice or fancy.  

    Judges have to  decide cases as they  come before them, mindful  of the  need to keep passions and prejudices out of their decisions.  And it  will be  strange  if, by employing judicial artifices and techniques, this Court cuts down the  discretion so wisely conferred upon the Courts, by devising a  formula which  will confine the power  to grant anticipatory bail  within a strait-jacket. While laying down cast-iron rules in a matter like granting anticipatory bail, as the High Court has done, it is apt to be overlooked that even Judges can have but an imperfect awareness of the needs of new situations. Life is never static and every situation has to be assessed in the  context of emerging concerns as and when  it arises.  

    Discretion, therefore,  ought to be permitted to remain in the domain of discretion, to be exercised objectively and open to correction by the higher  courts.  The  safety  of discretionary power  lies  in  this  twin  protection  which provides a safeguard against its abuse.  

    It  is true that the functions of judiciary and the police are  in a sense complementary and not overlapping. An order of  anticipatory bail does not in any way, directly or indirectly,  take  away  from  the  police  their  right  to investigate into  charges made or to  be made against the person released   on  bail.  In  fact,  two  of  the  usual conditions incorporated in a direction issued under section 438(1) are  those recommended in Sub-section (2)(i) and (ii) which require  the applicant  to co-operate  with the police and to assure that  he shall  not tamper with the witnesses during and  after the investigation.

    While  granting relief under Section  438(1), appropriate conditions can be imposed under Section  438(2), so  as  to  ensure  an  uninterrupted investigation. One of such conditions can even be that in the event of the police making out  a case of a likely discovery under Section 27 of the Evidence  Act, the person released on  bail  shall  be liable to  be taken  in police custody for facilitating the discovery. Besides,  if and when the occasion arises, it may be possible  for the  prosecution to  claim the benefit  of Section 27  of the  Evidence Act in regard to a discovery of facts made  in pursuance of information supplied by a person released on bail. 

    The power conferred by  section 438  is of  an "extra ordinary" character  only  in  the sense  that it  is not ordinarily resorted  to and it is only in exceptional cases where it appears that the person may be falsely implicated or where there are reasonable grounds for holding that a person accused of an offence is not likely to otherwise misuse his liberty then power is to be exercised under Section 438. 

    The captioned subject is complex by its very nature. We, therefore, always encourage our visitors & Clients to seek an independent legal advice by our empanelled lawyers. In such Cases, our lawyers devise most appropriate legal recourse for our Clients after examining the related provisions of law, i.e. The Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973, The Limitation Act, 1963, The Evidence Act, 1872, Other relevant Acts, Judgments and Citations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court Of India and the High Courts. Even otherwise, the question as to how to apply the laws, judgments and citations is rather more complex, as it involves a thorough examination of substantial laws, procedural laws and Court precedents in a given set of facts and circumstances.

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