Sessions Judge Who Was Asked To Go For Training Says He's Due To Be Considered For Elevation; Supreme Court Refuses Early Hearing

Sohini Chowdhury

15 May 2023 4:11 PM GMT

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  • Sessions Judge Who Was Asked To Go For Training Says Hes Due To Be Considered For Elevation; Supreme Court Refuses Early Hearing

    The Supreme Court, on Monday, refused early listing of application filed by a Judge of a Sessions Court in Lucknow, who was recently asked by the Supreme Court to be sent for Training as he did not follow the law laid down by the Apex Court in Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI. In Antil, the Apex Court had laid down guidelines on the aspect of grant of bail to accused who are not arrested...

    The Supreme Court, on Monday, refused early listing of application filed by a Judge of a Sessions Court in Lucknow, who was recently asked by the Supreme Court to be sent for Training as he did not follow the law laid down by the Apex Court in Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI. In Antil, the Apex Court had laid down guidelines on the aspect of grant of bail to accused who are not arrested during investigation on charge sheet being filed.

    On the last date of hearing, it was brought to the notice of a Bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah that the concerned Sessions Judge Lucknow had rejected an anticipatory bail application wherein it was argued before the Court that the applicants were not arrested during investigation and chargesheet has already been filed. The Bench was baffled to note that while rejecting the anticipatory bail applications, the Judge had observed, “Since ample safeguards in this situation are already given to the accused therefore no ground exists for anticipatory bail”. Moreso, when the Apex Court had already categorically clarified, “what we have enunciated qua bail would equally apply to anticipatory bail cases. Anticipatory bail after all is one of the species of a bail.”

    In this regard, the Apex Court had observed -

    “Certainly, the Ld. Judge concerned meets the parameter for upgradation of his skill in a judicial academy and the needful be done by the High Court.”

    On Monday, Senior Advocate PS Patwalia, appearing on behalf of the said Sessions Judge, mentioned the application before the Division Bench. He submitted that the judge is retiring on 30th June, 2023 and his name is under consideration for elevation. In the light of the same he sought an early listing of his application. Patwalia submitted that when the matter came up before the Sessions Judge, chargesheet had already been filed and he had passed a summoning order.

    Justice Kaul reckoned, “He should have granted protection and said that you go and apply for regular bail…”

    Patwalia submitted, “If chargesheet has been filed and offence is punishable with less than 7 years then there is no question of custody. That is what he said in his order.”

    Justice Kaul explained the procedure that is to be followed as per the judgment in Antil.

    “If chargesheet has been filed and the man has not been taken into custody before chargesheet was filed then there is no need to take such people into custody. The proper process is they should appear when the chargesheet is filed. If they do not appear then issue a bailable warrant and still they do not appear then issue a non-bailable warrant.”

    Patwalia reiterated, “It was only a summon and not a warrant.”

    Justice Amanullah remarked, “We cannot give that benefit of doubt to him. Can not give him that long rope of benefit of doubt.”

    Justice Kaul indicated that it might be useful for the concerned Sessions Judge to go to the academy for a few days.

    “Certainly on this bail jurisdiction it would be useful for him if for some days he goes to the academy” Justice Kaul said.

    Patwalia apprised the Bench that the concerned Sessions Judge has been serving as a judicial officer for the past 33 years. To this Justice Kaul responded, “All the more reason. If such a senior officer…”

    Commenting on the perception of the Trial Court with respect to bail applications, Justice Kaul said, “The idea is that I will not give bail. If you want to get bail, get it from the High Court.”

    He added, “Dishonestly given bail is a problem, then not giving bail where due is also dishonesty. It is an intellectual dishonesty.”

    [Case Title: Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI And Anr. SLP(Crl) No. 5191/2021]

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