A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat will pronounce its judgment on the issue whether anticipatory bail should be limited to a particular period.
The bench had reserved its judgment on October 24, 2019 in the case Sushila Aggarwal & Ors. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr.
On May 15, 2018, a Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha had referred the following questions for consideration by a larger bench:
- 1. Whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 CrPC should be limited to a fixed period so as to enable the person to surrender before the Trial Court and seek regular bail?
- 2. Whether the life of an anticipatory bail should end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the Court?
While decisions in cases such as Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia & Ors v. State of Punjab, Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra and others, state that anticipatory bail should not be for a limited period of time, cases such as Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra call for the limited duration of the anticipatory bail.
Senior Advocates Harin P Raval and K V Vishwanathan had argued against placing any time limit on anticipatory bail.
In opposition, ASG Vikramjit Banerjee had submitted that if the anticipatory bail goes on till the end of the trial, some provisions which require the presence of the accused would become otiose, i.e. Sections 209 and 240 of CrPC. However, on reading these provisions, the argument was rejected by the Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted that anticipatory bail being a discretionary remedy, the Court can impose time limits.