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SC stays Rajasthan HC order directing DGP not to arrest accused for offences with maximum sentence up to 3 years

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai has also stayed the direction of the High Court by which it had directed The Registrar (Judicial), Jaipur Bench, Jaipur & the Registrar (Judicial), Principal Seat, Jodhpur, to not list bail applications under Section 438 Cr.P.C in offences where maximum sentence extends upto three years and the offence is triable by First Class Magistrate till reopening of Courts after Summer Vacation.

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The Supreme Court has stayed an order of the Rajasthan High Court which had directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to issue instructions to all officers concerned in Rajasthan not to arrest persons in cases where the accused is charged under an offence whose maximum sentence extends up to three years and the offence is triable by a First Class Magistrate.

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B.R. Gavai has also stayed the direction of the High Court by which it had directed The Registrar (Judicial), Jaipur Bench, Jaipur & the Registrar (Judicial), Principal Seat, Jodhpur, to not list bail applications under Section 438 CrPC in offences where maximum sentence extends upto three years and the offence is triable by First Class Magistrate till reopening of Courts after the Summer Vacation. The Apex Court also stayed the direction by which the High Court had directed to send the order copy to the Additional Advocate General for onward transmission to the DGP.

The directions were issued by the High Court on May 17, 2021, in a matter pertaining to an anticipatory bail application filed by accused Bhanwar Singh charged for sexual harassment and trespassing. He had challenged the dismissal of his bail application by the Sessions Court before Justice Pankaj Bhandari of the Rajasthan High Court.

The High Court had noted in its order that there is a huge pendency of bail applications and as on date as many as five judges at Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court are hearing bail matters in addition to miscellaneous petitions, criminal appeals etc, which are assigned to them. The Court had also noted that it is alive to the fact that in cognizable and non-bailable offences, police has a right to arrest the accused, however taking note of grave condition of the pandemic, lockdown and various guidelines issued by the State to restrict number of employees coming to workplace, it was deemed proper to hear learned AAG.

Read Also: Supreme Court grants anticipatory bail to Armyman accused of rape

Furthermore, the High Court had noted in its order that it is of the opinion that the arrest of persons in cases where imprisonment extends upto 3 years and are triable by First Class Magistrate under present circumstances will prove to be counter-productive. “If a person, who is arrested and produced before the Magistrate and thereafter, sent to jail is an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19, the inmates may be put at risk,” it said.

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