‘Illegal’ to grant bail for a limited duration after court concludes that accused is entitled for release: SC

New Delhi: After a court concludes that an accused is entitled to be enlarged on bail pending trial, granting bail only for a limited duration is illegal, according to the Supreme Court.

A bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal held that 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,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court said that if an order granting interim bail was to be passed, the bail application should have been kept pending, adding that “this is the fifth or sixth order” which it came across from the same high court where, after recording a finding that an accused was entitled to be enlarged on bail, the high court chose to grant either interim bail or bail for a short duration.

It ordered modification of the order passed by the Orissa High Court and directed 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”.

In its August 2023 order, the high court had concluded that an accused was entitled to be enlarged on bail, but ended up granting interim bail for 45 days.

The appellant-accused is being prosecuted for the offence punishable under Sections 20(b)(ii)(C), 25 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.


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