Saturday, 25 August 2018

Whether it is permissible for court to grant blanket order of anticipatory bail?

 We have said that there is one proposition formulated by the High Court with which we are inclined to agree. That is preposition No. (2). We agree that a 'blanket order' of anticipatory bail should not generally be passed. This flows from the very language of the section which, as discussed above, requires the applicant to show that he has "reason to believe" that he may be arrested. A belief can be said to be founded on reasonable grounds only if there is something tangible to go by on the basis of which it can be said that the applicant's apprehension that he may be arrested is genuine. That is why, normally, a direction should not issue Under Section 438(1) to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail "whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever." That is what is meant by a 'blanket order' of anticipatory bail, an order which serves as a blanket to cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity, in fact any eventuality, likely or unlikely regarding which, no concrete information can possibly be had. The rationale of a direction Under Section 438(1) is the belief of the applicant founded on reasonable grounds that he may be arrested for a non-bailable offence. It is unrealistic to expect the applicant to draw up his application with the meticulousness of a pleading in a civil case and such is not requirement of the section.; But specific events; and facts must be disclosed by the applicant in order to enable the court to judge of the reasonableness of his belief, the existence of which is the sine qua non of the exercise of power conferred by the section.

46. Apart from the fact that the very language of the statute compels this construction, there is an important principle involved in the insistence that facts, on the basis of which a direction Under Section 438(1) is sought, must be clear and specific, not vague and general. It is only by the observance of that principle that a possible conflict between the right of an individual to his liberty and the right of the police to investigate into crimes reported to them can be avoided.

47. A blanket order of anticipatory bail is bound to cause serious interference with both the right and the duty of the police in the matter of investigation because, regardless of what kind of offence is alleged to have been committed by the applicant and when, an order of bail which comprehends allegedly unlawful activity of any description whatsoever, will prevent the police from arresting the applicant even if he commits, say, a murder in the presence of the public. Such an order can then become a charter of lawlessness and a weapon to stifle prompt investigation into offences which could not possibly be predicated when the order was passed. Therefore, the court which grants anticipatory bail must take care to specify the offence or offences in respect of which alone the order will be effective. The power should not be exercised in a. vacuum.


Decided On: 09.04.1980

 Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia Vs. State of Punjab

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Y.V. Chandrachud, C.J., O. Chinnappa Reddy, P.N. Bhagwati, R.S. Pathak and N.L. Untwalia, JJ.
Read full judgment here: Click here
Citation:  1980 (2) S.C.C. 565

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