On Tuesday, the Supreme Court imposed a stay on Allahabad High Court judgment while questioning whether apprehension of death due to COVID can be a valid reason for granting anticipatory bail.
The provisions for Anticipatory Bail are given under Section. 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.Though the term anticipatory bail is not defined in the Cr. P. C, it is essentially a pre-arrest bail issued when a person has reason or apprehension to believe that he may be arrested for the accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence, applies before a High Court or Court of Sessions that in the event of arrest he shall be released on bail. The High Court or Court of Sessions may grant anticipatory bail when grounds for such application are deemed valid by the court.
Allahabad High Court has recently passed a judgement recognising apprehension of death due to COVID as a valid ground for granting anticipatory bail, reiterating that the right to life is crucial to the right to personal liberty. The Court was with the view that without adequate medical facilities, arrest of accused persons may contravene their right to life which is inviolable under Article 21 if their arrest is carried in the normal procedure as in normal times.
However, the Supreme Court on appeal has stayed the Allahabad High Court judgment and held the judgement ought not to be cited as Precedent for grant of anticipatory bail in other cases until further orders are passed.
The order of stay was issued by the vacation bench comprising of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai based on the arguments by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the state of Uttar Pradesh. The bench also appointed Senior Advocate V. Giri as amicus curiae to assist the court in further proceedings.