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SC raps Orrisa HC for granting bail to murder accused

The high court made a categorical observation that considering the nature of the allegations against the accused, it did not think it to be a fit case for grant of anticipatory bail, however, it gave a direction if he surrenders within four weeks and moves a bail application, he shall be released on bail. Later he surrendered and applied for bail and he was released.

A bench comprising of Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Madan B Lokur said that such orders put restriction on the power of the trial court to consider the bail application on merits and grant or reject prayer for bail. ‘We are of the opinion that such orders should never be passed,’ said the court.

The bench has also directed the apex court registry to forward a copy of this judgment to the Orissa high court chief justice to circulate a copy of this order to the high court judges.

‘We are surprised at the direction issued by the high court to the trial court to release respondent 2 (accused) on bail. When the high court rejected the application for anticipatory bail, it was sufficient indication that the high court thought it fit not to put a fetter on the investigating agency’s power to arrest respondent 2. In such a situation, the investigating agency, if it so desired and if it thought that the custodial interrogation of respondent 2 was necessary, could have arrested him.

'Therefore, after rejecting the prayer for anticipatory bail, the high court should not have negated its own order by directing that respondent 2 should be released on bail. This is contradiction in terms. It dilutes the order rejecting anticipatory bail. Such order is not legally sound’, the court said.

The court was hearing a plea of the father of the victim. His case was that the police did not investigate the case of the murder of his son properly and onlt after he filed a petition in the high court, the investigation gained momentum.

‘In the circumstances, we set aside the impugned order. We have perused the order passed by the SDJM, Rayagada granting bail to respondent 2 pursuant to the impugned order. Obviously, the SDJM released respondent 2 on bail solely on the ground that the high court had issued the above mentioned direction. The SDJM had no alternative but to do so.’
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