Court takes exception to regular granted by Panchkula judge pending proceedings in HC
The bench recalled the regular bail order passed in April 2022 and dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of the petitioner
The Punjab and Haryana high court has taken exception to regular bail granted by a Panchkula judicial officer even as proceedings of anticipatory bail in the criminal case were pending before the high court in a 2020 FIR.
The court found the Panchkula judicial officer’s order was in violation of a 2017 Supreme Court judgment. The high court bench of justice Jasjit Singh Bedi ordered that the HC judgment in this case be sent to the magistrate who had passed the order and be circulated to all district and sessions judges in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for “strict compliance”.
The bench recalled the regular bail order passed in April 2022 and dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of the petitioner.
It ordered that the she will surrender before the trial court within 15 days, failing which, the investigating agency would take her into custody. She would then be at liberty to apply for regular bail, the order added.
The court was dealing with a plea from Rashmi, nominated in an FIR registered on December 8, 2020, at Sector 5 police station in Panchkula, on allegations of extortion, robbery and cheating.
She was granted interim protection from arrest on August 20, 2021, from high court and this order was continued from time to time as proceedings remained pending.
However, acting on a plea for regular bail from Rashmi, the trial court granted regular bail to the accused in April 2022, even as anticipatory bail proceedings were pending in high court and petitioner had not been arrested.
The court found that the magistrate’s order was in violation of a Supreme Court order of 2017, which said during the pendency of the application for pre-arrest bail before a superior court, the consideration of regular bail by lower courts must be discouraged.
“If this is a practice that is prevailing in some of the subordinate courts and we have had notice of several such cases, time has come to put the learned subordinate courts to notice that such a practice must be discontinued and consideration of regular bail applications upon surrender during the pendency of the application for pre-arrest bail before a superior court must be discouraged,” the SC order of 2017 reads.
Rashmi is one of the accused in an extortion case. A Karnal resident had alleged that two men and some policemen extorted ₹55.5 lakh from him and threatened to falsely implicate him in a case. A special investigation team was also constituted by Panchkula police in this case.