The stream of Administration of justice has to be unpolluted so that the purity of court's atmosphere may give vitality to all the organs of state, SC issues guidelines for deceptive bail applications

Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court (on January 19) has listed the prerequisites to be mentioned in grant of bail applications. The Court also recorded that these suggestions are to streamline the proceedings and avoid anomalies.

Pertinently, apart from other suggestions, the Court reiterated the direction issued in the judgment in Pradhani Jani v. The State of Odisha 2023 that all bail applications filed by the different accused in the same FIR should be listed before the same Judge.

Apart from that, the Division Bench of Justices Rajesh Bindal and Vikram Nath issued the following directions :

1. Firstly, there should be details and copies of order(s) passed in the earlier bail application(s) filed by the petitioner, which has already been decided.

2. Secondly, details of any bail application(s) filed by the petitioner, which is pending either in any court, below the court in question or the higher court, and if none is pending, a clear statement to that effect has to be made.

“In case it is mentioned on the top of the bail application or any other place which is clearly visible, that the application for bail is either first, second or third and so on, so that it is convenient for the court to appreciate the arguments in that light.

If this fact is mentioned in the order, it will enable the next higher court to appreciate the arguments in that light.,” the Court opined.

3. Thirdly, the registry of the court should also annex a report generated from the system about decided or pending bail application(s) in the crime case in question. The same system needs to be followed even in the case of private complaints as all cases filed in the trial courts are assigned specific numbers (CNR No.), even if no FIR number is there.

4. Lastly, it should be the duty of the Investigating Officer/any officer assisting the State Counsel in court to apprise him of the order(s), if any, passed by the court with reference to different bail applications or other proceedings in the same crime case. And the counsel appearing for the parties have to conduct themselves truly like officers of the Court.

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court made these observations while hearing a bail application. To give a brief factual background, two persons were accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The sessions court rejected their bail applications. Imperatively, their bail applications were listed in the High Court before different judges. For convivence, let's say Judge A and Judge B (as also illustrated in the judgment). While the co-accused's bail application was allowed by Judge B, the appellant's bail application was rejected by Judge A. Against this backdrop, the present SLP was filed by the appellant.

Meanwhile, a second bail application was filed before the High Court without disclosing the facts about the instant SLP. Now, during the pendency of the matter before this Court, Judge B (who granted bail to the co-accused) granted bail to the appellant. 

The Supreme Court pointed out that the Standing Order directed the Registry to annex all the orders passed in the earlier bail applications. Despite, the order passed by the High Court in the case of the appellant (rejecting his earlier bail application), did not form part of the second bail application before the High Court. The Court noted that only the order allowing the bail application of the co-accused was annexed.

Moreover, the Court highlighted that even in the list of dates and events, the appellant did not mention the disposal of his earlier bail application by the High Court and the present SLP.

“Even in the body of the bail application, the appellant has conspicuously remained silent about the dismissal of his earlier bail application by the High Court and filing of the SLP before this Court….The High Court even granted bail to the appellant. In the bail application filed before the High Court, it was not mentioned that the same was second bail application filed by the appellant.,” the court said.

Moving forward, the Court also observed that when the co-accused's application was allowed by the high court, the State Counsel did not point out the pendency of another bail application arising out of the same FIR.

“The concerned investigating officer must be aware of this fact but had not pointed out the same before the court.,” the Court said.

Given these facts and circumstances, the Court went on to list the above-mentioned requirements in order to avoid any confusion in future.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the application as infructuous before adding that given the conduct of the parties, the Court has an option to cancel the bail however, it did not pass any adverse order to that effect. Notwithstanding, the Court made it clear that this can be the option exercised by the Court if the facts of the case so demand seeing the conduct of the parties.