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Bihar Prohibition Act: "Law Has Created An Impact On Working Of High Court, Judges Busy Hearing Bail Matters": Supreme Court Remarks

Srishti Ojha
12 Jan 2022 12:17 PM GMT
Bihar Prohibition Act: Law Has Created An Impact On Working Of High Court, Judges Busy Hearing Bail Matters: Supreme Court Remarks
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The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday orally remarked that the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 has created an impact on functioning of the Patna High Court, delaying the listing of matters since the courts are busy hearing bail matters of those accused under the Act.A Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a batch of special leave...

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday orally remarked that the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 has created an impact on functioning of the Patna High Court, delaying the listing of matters since the courts are busy hearing bail matters of those accused under the Act.

A Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a batch of special leave petitions filed by the State of Bihar challenging Patna High Court's orders granting bail and anticipatory bail to persons accused under the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016.

Addressing the Counsel appearing for the State of Bihar, CJI Ramana said, "You know how much impact created with this law in working of High Court in Bihar? It is taking one year in listing matters. All courts are busy with bail matters. I am told 14-15 judges are hearing these bail matters daily from morning to evening and no other matters are being taken up."

While noting that the special leave petitions have been filed challenging bails granted in the years 2017/2018, the Bench observed that to achieve the object of the Act, the prosecution of the case should be made in all earnestness to secure conviction and punishment.

Advocate Manish Kumar appearing for the State of Bihar argued that the High Court has recorded no reasons while granting bail. He added that in some of these cases the amount of liquor confiscated is even 2000-3000 litres.

He argued that the High Court has been granting bail to the respondent accused mechanically without recording any reason therefor which deserves to be set aside and bail be cancelled as otherwise the object of the Act will be defeated.

"According to you we shouldn't grant bail? Because you've made a law, excise law. 10 years punishment and life imprisonment for liquor confiscation," CJI said

The Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 (Act, 2016) prohibits the manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation, possession, sale, purchase and consumption of any intoxicant or liquor. 

Advocate Manish Kumar appearing for the State of Bihar submitted that the accused were involved in transport and sale of liquor.

"What's the punishment in Sec 302 IPC?",CJI asked the Counsel.

"Death and life imprisonment," Mr Kumar said.

"Bails are granted or not?",  CJI asked.

"Yes," Mr Kumar said.

Mr Kumar argued that on the basis of quantity recovered from the accused, some sort of reasoning should be assigned. Some guidelines be issued by the Supreme Court so that regular bail is not given when amount recovered is so huge.

The Bench recorded, "We find the respondents ­ accused were charged with the offence which relates to Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 and in most of the cases the impugned Orders passed by the High Court by which the bail was granted to them are of the years 2017/2018. There is no specific complaint of violation of the condition.We are informed by the learned counsel appearing for the State of Bihar that the investigation stands completed and the charge­ sheet has already been filed in the matters. In view of the above and having regard to the fact that in most of the cases three/four years has passed since the bail granted to the respondents by the High Court, we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned Orders passed by the said Court at this stage.

Case Details: State of Bihar vs Raju Das, SLP (Crl) 8468/2017 & other cases 

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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