Addl Sessions Judge under High Court scanner over bail

Addl Sessions Judge under High Court scanner over bail

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, January 20

The functioning of a judicial officer in Punjab has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner after he failed to come out with a “legally justifiable reason” for treating a regular bail plea as an anticipatory bail petition.

‘Rush of work’

The Additional Sessions Judge stated that the mistake occurred due to rush of work and assured it would not be repeated. But the District and Sessions Judge, in a report submitted before the HC, said the comments submitted by the officer did not contain any legally justifiable reason for passing the order

Holding that the order had raised “serious concerns”, Justice Jasgurpreet Singh Puri has directed forthwith placing of the matter before the administrative judge of Faridkot for information and “further necessary action”, if required.

The matter was brought to the HC’s notice after an accused filed a petition under Section 439 of the CrPC for regular bail in a cheating case registered on January 29, 2021, under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC at Sadar police station in Kotkapura.

Referring to the orders passed by the Faridkot Additional Sessions Judge, Justice Puri asserted it was pointed out to the HC that the petitioner was in custody since March 18 last year. But the Additional Sessions Judge decided the application for grant of anticipatory bail on merits on July 2, 2021.

Justice Puri further asserted the Faridkot District and Sessions Judge was directed to file a report “as to how anticipatory bail has been decided on merits, when the petitioner was already in custody much prior to the same”.

Justice Puri added the District and Sessions Judge stated in his report that comments were called from the Additional Sessions Judge, while adding that a perusal of the record revealed the application was indeed filed for regular bail. Specific pleading was made in a paragraph that the accused was in judicial custody. The bail application was decided vide order dated July 2, 2021. But the Additional Sessions Judge dismissed the application “while considering the same as having been filed under Section 438 of the CrPC (anticipatory bail)”.

The Additional Sessions Judge stated that the mistake occurred due to rush of work and assured it would not be repeated. But the District and Sessions Judge, in the report’s concluding part, submitted before the HC, said the comments submitted by the officer did not contain any legally justifiable reason in passing the order.

“A perusal of the order would show that the Additional Sessions Judge, Faridkot, has discussed the contentions of the parties considering the same to be anticipatory bail application… In the operative part again, it has been observed that it was not a fit case for grant of pre-arrest bail to the accused. A perusal of the order raises serious concern. Therefore, this court deems it fit and proper to send the case file to the concerned administrative judge…”

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