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Latest NewsNon-bailable warrants can’t be issued in a routine manner, says Supreme Court

Non-bailable warrants can’t be issued in a routine manner, says Supreme Court


New Delhi, May 2: Cautioning against routine issuance of non-bailable warrants (NBWs), the Supreme Court has said that NBWs should not be issued unless the accused is charged with a heinous , and is likely to evade the process of law or destroy evidence.

“It is a settled position of law that non-bailable warrants cannot be issued in a routine manner and that the liberty of an individual cannot be curtailed unless necessitated by the larger interest of public and the State,” a Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said in its May 1 judgment.

The Bench – which also included Justice SVN Bhatti – allowed appeals filed by one Sharif Ahmed and Adil against an Allahabad High Court verdict refusing to quash the criminal proceedings against them arising out of a property dispute. It also granted anticipatory bail to accused Imran and Kamaluddin. Partly allowing the appeal of accused Manager Singh, the top court quashed the summoning order and an NBW against him and ordered his release on bail.

“While there are no comprehensive set of guidelines for the issuance of non-bailable warrants, this court has observed on several occasions that non-bailable warrants should not be issued, unless the accused is charged with a heinous crime, and is likely to evade the process of law or tamper/destroy evidence,” the Bench said, clarifying the legal position on NBWs.

“Further, the observation that there is no provision for granting exemption from personal appearance prior to obtaining bail, is not correct, as the power to grant exemption from personal appearance under the Code should not be read in a restrictive manner as applicable only after the accused has been granted bail,” the Bench said, citing its verdict in Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Another v Rani Jethmalani in which it was held that “the power to grant exemption from personal appearance should be exercised liberally, when facts and circumstances require such exemption”.

Explaining Section 205 of CrPC — which states that the Magistrate, exercising his discretion, may dispense with the personal attendance of the accused while issuing summons, and allow them to appear through their pleader – the top court said, “While provisions of the Code are considered to be exhaustive, cases arise where the Code is silent and the court has to make such order as the ends of justice require. In such cases, the criminal court must act on the principle, that every procedure which is just and fair, is understood as permissible, till it is shown to be expressly or impliedly prohibited by law.”

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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