The High Court was of the view that the prayers for interim relief proceeded on the premise that the appellant had been illegally detained and since he was in judicial custody, it would not entertain the request for bail or for stay of the investigation in the exercise of its extra-ordinary jurisdiction. The High Court held that since the appellant was in judicial custody, it was open to him to avail of the remedy of bail under Section 439 of the CrPC. The High Court declined prima facie to consider the submission of the appellant that the allegations in the FIR, read as they stand,do not disclose the commission of an offence under Section 306 of the IPC. That is how the case has come to Supreme Court.
Human liberty is a precious constitutional value,which is undoubtedly subject to regulation by validly enacted legislation.As such, the citizen is subject to the edicts of criminal law and procedure.Section 482 recognizes the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as are necessary to give effect to the provisions of the CrPC ―or prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
Respondents are right in submitting that the procedural hierarchy of courts in matters concerning the grant of bail needs to be respected. However, there was a failure of the High Court to discharge its adjudicatory function at two levels –first in declining to evaluate prima facie at the interim stage in a petition for quashing the FIR as to whether an arguable case has been made out, and secondly, in declining interim bail, as a consequence of its failure to render a prima facie opinion on the first. The High Court did have the power to protect the citizen by an interim order in a petition invoking Article226. Where the High Court has failed to do so, this Court would be abdicating its role and functions as a constitutional court if it refuses to interfere, despite the parameters for such interference being met. The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions
The Supreme Court has passed following orders on 11 November 2020:
We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arnab Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent.
The Supreme Court has kept the SLP(Crl) No. 005598 – 005598/2020 (Crl.A. No. 000742 – 000742/2020) pending for final orders on a later date.
Maharashtra High Court has decided to dismiss the Application seeking interim relief of Stay on arrest holding that there is no illegality in arrest and continued investigation after the submission of closure report due to the reasons stated by police, is not illegal. Hence there is no merit in the contention that arrest is illegal. It observed:
Bail in Writ Jurisdiction:
No doubt, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, this court has jurisdiction to quash the investigation and pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law. However, the powers are to be exercised sparingly and that too, in rare and appropriate cases and in extreme circumstances to prevent abuse of process of law. 44. In State of Telangana vs. Habib Abdullah Jeelani & others (supra), their Lordships have observed that the Courts have to ensure such a power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not to be exercised liberally so as to convert it into section 438 of Cr.P.C. proceedings.
45. The principle stated therein will equally apply to the exercise of this Court’s power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure while considering the applications for bail since the petitioner is already in Judicial custody. The legislature has provided specific remedy under Section 439 Cr.P.C. for applying for regular bail. Having regard to the alternate and efficacious remedy available to the petitioner under section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has to exercise judicial restraint while entertaining application in the nature of seeking regular bail in a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure.