Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Include SC verdicts on guidelines for bail, arrest in your curriculum: Supreme Court to judicial academies

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The Supreme Court directed the State Judicial Academies on Friday to include in their curriculum, the verdicts delivered by this court, which laid down elaborate guidelines regarding arrest and bail.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice A.S. Oka today directed the academies to include the verdicts delivered in the 2021 case of Siddharth vs State of Uttar Pradesh and the 2022 case of Satender Kumar Antil vs Central Bureau of Investigation in their curriculum.

In the first case, the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy had ruled that Section 170 of CrPC did not impose an obligation on the Officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the charge sheet.

It had observed that the practice of some Trial Courts of insisting on the arrest of an accused as a pre-requisite formality to take the charge sheet on record was misplaced and contrary to the very intent of Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

In the second case, expressing its concern over the large number of undertrials languishing in jails, the Bench comprising Justice S.K, Kaul and Justice M.M. Sundersh had issued elaborate guidelines to ease the process of bail.

It directed that the accused should not be remanded in a mechanical manner. 
The verdict further suggested the Union Government to bring a ‘Bail Act,’ in order to streamline the process for granting bail.

While considering the Satinder Kumar Antil case to ascertain the compliance by the States regarding the directions, the Apex Court today directed the High Courts to undertake the exercise of finding out the undertrial prisoners who were not able to comply with the bail conditions.

Amicus Curiae in the matter, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, apprised the top court of the country that four High Courts of Tripura, Rajasthan, AP and Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, along with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), were yet to file their reports.

Luthra said that very few states had filed their compliance reports, adding that the guidelines were being breached. 

The Apex Court told the States to file the compliance reports within four weeks, failing which their Chief Secretaries would be summoned on the next date of hearing. 

The Bench further directed that the High Courts should state in their affidavits whether they have been monitoring the judicial officers in compliance with the Supreme Court verdict.

The matter will be considered next on March 21. 

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