The Rajasthan High Court on Monday (09th November) directed Registrar (Vigilance) to initiate against a Magistrate who issued Arrest Warrants against accused, despite the fact that High Court had earlier granted them Anticipatory Bail.
The Bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma also observed,
"The action of the learned Magistrate is clearly wanting and shows scant respect to the High Court's order as well as having little knowledge relating to criminal law."
The petitioners, Nanuram Saini and Vinod Kumar were granted anticipatory bail by the High Court in the year 2003, in connection with the FIR registered against them on cheating charges.
Thereafter, the Magistrate took cognizance of the offences relating to allegations under Sections 418, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406 & 120-B IPC against the accused/petitioners. The Court also issued arrest warrants against them (in September 2020).
The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that on coming to know about the arrest warrants, the petitioners moved an application before the Court of Magistrate informing that they are on anticipatory bail, granted by the High Court and also requested the Magistrate that the arrest warrants should be converted into bailable warrants in terms of Section 70(2) Cr.P.C.
However, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Khetri whereby its order dated 3.9.2020 refused to convert the non-bailable warrants to bailable warrants on the premise that he does not have the power to convert the non-bailable warrants to bailable warrants as it would amount to refuse to recall its earlier order, which is barred in terms of Section 362 Cr.P.C. and he further issued arrest warrants on the same day.
The Counsel submitted before the High Court that the issue regarding the tenure of the anticipatory bail has been decided in the case of Sushila Agarwal & Others Versus State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr. by the Five Judges Bench and it has been held that the anticipatory bail granted by the Court shall continue till the end of the trial.
To this, the High Court said,
"The action of the learned Magistrate from the date, it has taken cognizance and up to the passing of the impugned order dated 3.9.2020 (issuing arrest warrants) has acted in clear violation of the orders passed by the High Court after having granted anticipatory bail."
The Court also said,
"There was no occasion for the learned Magistrate to have issued the arrest warrants and such course or power was not available with it in spite of having been given to it. Learned Magistrate has insisted on issuing of the arrest warrants and it is also seen that the provisions of Section 362 Cr.P.C. cannot come into operation while deciding the application under Section 70 (2) Cr.P.C."
In view of the aforesaid, the High Court allowed the petition and quashed the order dated 3.9.2020 (of the Magistrate).
Lastly, it was directed by the Court,
"A copy of this order be sent to the Registrar (Vigilance) for placing it before the concerned Committee to decide what course of action is required to be done as against such Magistrate."