SC Critical of MP HC Order Seeking Explanation From Trial Judge for Granting Bail

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Madhya Pradesh High Court order seeking an explanation from a trial court judge why bail was granted to an accused, saying “such orders affect the independence of district judiciary.”

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, stayed the high court order and granted bail to accused Totaram in a criminal case.

The apex court said that this was a fit case for the grant of bail as the offences alleged did not entail life imprisonment or the death penalty as maximum punishment and moreover, the other accused had already been given the same relief earlier.

“Prima facie, there was no justification of the high court seeking an explanation from the concerned district court judge. Such orders affect the independence of district judiciary in considering the bail applications,” the CJI observed.

Totaram was facing prosecution for offences including criminal intimidation and outraging the modesty of woman under the IPC.

The trial court had granted bail to the accused and the decision was reversed by the high court which also sought an explanation from the lower court judge for passing such an order.

“The petitioner shall be released on bail, subject to such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the trial court,” it ordered.

It granted liberty to the counsel for the accused to serve the apex court’s notice to the standing counsel of Madhya Pradesh.

“The direction of the High Court, which called for an explanation from the trial court judge, shall remain stayed,” it said.

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