SC sets aside HC order on strictures against judicial officer
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has set aside an order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court by which action was recommended against a judicial officer for granting bail to an accused within four days of rejection of his pre-arrest bail by a higher court.
The high court had termed the action of the magistrate as "judicial impropriety" and "gross indiscipline" and recommended the chief justice to take appropriate action on the administrative side. It had set aside the order of magistrate and cancelled the bail plea of an accused, arrested for allegedly giving fake educational degrees to students for money.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the approach of the high court was "erroneous in law" and set aside the order of single judge of the high court. "Merely, because an application for anticipatory bail preferred by the appellant was rejected, it could not be said that thereafter the magistrate was precluded from even considering the application for grant of regular bail," the bench said.
The top court said, "The grounds for grant of anticipatory bail are altogether different from that of regular bail."
"No doubt, anticipatory bail was rejected on August 26, 2016 and within four days thereafter regular bail was granted.
However, the high court could not have cancelled the bail, only on the ground that the anticipatory bail was rejected," it said.
It said that the high court was also wrong in observing that in the circumstances the only remedy for the accused was to approach the high court alone "as if he was precluded from filing an application for regular bail before the magistrate".
Advocate D K Thakur, appearing for the Himachal Pradesh government, claimed that the accused had threatened the complainant immediately after coming out on bail.
The top court said it was an event that occurred after the accused came out on bail and could be a ground which could be raised by the complainant before a trial court for cancellation of bail.
An FIR was lodged at Dharamshala police station of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. The accused Chander Kant was charged with the offences of forgery, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and other sections of IPC.
After registration of the FIR and when the probe was pending, the accused had moved high court seeking anticipatory bail, which was dismissed on August 26, 2016.