Supreme Court Warns Magistrates Who Don't Follow Judgments On Bail; Says They Might Be Taken Off From Judicial Work & Sent For Training
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, was irked to note that even after 10 months of the judgment being passed, the District judiciary is not complying with directions issued in Satender Kumar Antil vs Central Bureau Of Investigation 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 577, wherein it had laid down elaborate guidelines regarding arrest and bail. It observed that the non-compliance would have a dual ramification -...
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, was irked to note that even after 10 months of the judgment being passed, the District judiciary is not complying with directions issued in Satender Kumar Antil vs Central Bureau Of Investigation 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 577, wherein it had laid down elaborate guidelines regarding arrest and bail. It observed that the non-compliance would have a dual ramification - a) sending people to custody when not required to be sent; b)creating further litigation, both of which the Court believed could not be countenanced.
A displeased Apex Court stated that if magistrates are passing orders in derogation of the law laid down in the said judgment, they may be required to be sent to judicial academies for upgradation of their skills. The High Court having supervision over the District judiciary was also advised to ensure that the law laid by the Supreme Court is followed.
“...in our view it is the duty of the High Courts that it ensures that the subordinate judiciary under their supervision follows the law of the land. If such orders are being passed by some Magistrates it may even require some judicial work to be withdrawn and the magistrate to be sent to judicial academies for upgradation of their skills.”
Justice SK Kaul noted, “The District judiciary is under the supervision of the High Court. It is the High Court duty to guide them, educate them.”
A Bench comprising Justice SK Kaul, Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice Aravind Kumar made the above mentioned observation when the Amicus Curiae, Mr. Siddharth Luthra produced some samples of orders illustrating non-compliance. The Bench was also apprised that submissions made by the Public Prosecutors are at times contrary to the law laid down in Antil. Accordingly, the Bench noted that it is also the duty of the Public Prosecutors to argue the correct legal position before the Courts.
Justice Amanullah reckoned, “Are we not required to take strict notice of the Agencies who make these submissions against law. Why leave it only to the court? The moment you make such submissions we must haul you up also.”
Additional Solicitor General, Mr. SV Raju responded saying that it is the bounden duty of the Public Prosecutors to bring to the notice of the Court the correct position of law. He assured the Bench that he would ask the CBI to issue directions to the Public Prosecutors in this respect.
The Bench was of the opinion that all prosecuting agencies/ State Govts. should issue such directions to the prosecutors. It also directed that training programmes be organised to make the prosecutors aware of the law laid down by the Apex Court.
On perusal of the sample orders, the Bench also noted that a bulk of the cases where the Courts have acted in ignorance of the law laid down in Antil belong to the State of Uttar Pradesh, especially Hathras, Ghaziabad and Lucknow. The Bench asked the Counsel appearing for the Allahabad High Court to take necessary steps in this regard.
In Satinder Kumar Antil, a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundersh, expressing concerns at the large number of undertrials languishing in jails, issued elaborate guidelines to ease the process of bail. The judgment also emphasized that the accused should not be remanded in a mechanical manner. The judgment also suggested that the Union Government should bring a 'Bail Act' to streamline the process for granting bail.
Today, the three-Judge Bench headed by Justice Kaul was ascertaining the compliance of the directions issued in Antil by the States. On the last occasion, the High Courts were also directed to undertake the exercise of finding out the undertrial prisoners who are not able to comply with the bail conditions. During the course of the hearing, the Bench noted that numbers of such undertrial prisoners were disproportionately large in Allahabad, Odisha, Assam and Tamil Nadu. The Counsels appearing for Gauhati and Orissa High Courts assured the Bench that special steps would be taken to deal with the situation. Since no one appeared for the Madras High Court, the Bench asked the Registrar to remain present on the next date of hearing. With respect to Allahabad, Justice Kaul recalled that he had already proposed a solution in another suo moto matter. Justice Kaul has previously opined that all persons who have completed 10 years of sentence, and whose appeals will not be heard in the near future, should be enlarged on bail, unless there are other reasons to deny them bail.
The Bench directed that the details set out in the affidavits filed before it with respect to under trial prisoners be handed over to NALSA so that it can take necessary steps.
Reading from the note submitted by the Amicus, Justice Kaul noted, “2800 people have not been able to make bail.”
The Amicus informed the Bench, “The Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a sub-Committee on how to help poor prisoners.”
Justice Amanullah suggested, “During covid times when people were not able to meet conditions they were released on bail for a certain period of time. By that time they were either able to make arrangements or sought for modification. Can we do that in these cases?”
Going through the compliance report filed by the High Courts, it was pointed out that four High Courts, namely, Delhi High Court, Meghalaya High Court, Uttarakhand High Court and Telangana High Courts were in non-compliance with the order to file the report.
The Bench was apprised by the Counsel appearing for the High Courts of Meghalaya and Uttarakhand that compliance reports were filed before the court but copy was not given to the Amicus. None appeared for the other two courts. Considering the same, the Bench directed the personal presence of the Registrar of the four Courts on the next date of hearing.
“We can see no reason why the orders of this Court cannot be complied with by serving a copy so that proper assistance is made available to us. Even the Counsels don’t care to attend. So far as Delhi and Telangana are concerned Counsels are present, but compliance reports not filed. We …but to direct the personal presence of the Registrar of the four Courts before us.”
[Case Title: Satendra Kumar Antil v. CBI And Anr. MA 2034/2022 in MA 1849/2021 in SLP(Crl)No. 5191/2021}