New Delhi, December 2
Once a court reaches the conclusion that a person is entitled to bail, it can’t grant him bail only for a limited period of time, the Supreme Court has ruled.
When a court concludes that the accused is entitled to be enlarged on bail pending trial, granting bail only for a limited duration is illegal.
Such orders violate the right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, it puts an additional burden on the litigant as he is forced to file a fresh bail application for an extension of the bail granted earlier,” a Bench led by Justice AS Oka said.
While dealing with a petition filed by a man accused of certain offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985, the Bench was surprised to note that the Orissa High Court chose to grant a 45-day interim bail to the accused despite concluding that prolonged incarceration with no prospect of the trial coming to an end made a case for the grant of bail.
“…this is the fifth or sixth order which we came across from the same (Orissa) High Court where, after recording a finding that an accused was entitled to be enlarged on bail, the High Court has chosen to grant either interim bail or bail for a short duration,” it said.
Modifying the impugned order of the high court dated August 11, 2023, the Bench allowed the appeal filed by accused appellant Manoranjan Rout.
“We direct that the appellant shall be enlarged on bail until the final disposal of the case on the same terms and conditions mentioned in the impugned order,” it said in its November 29 order.
After granting interim bail to the accused, the high court had finally disposed of his bail application. “If an order granting interim bail was to be passed, the bail application should have been kept pending,” the top court said.
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