In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court declared that High Courts and Sessions Courts possess the authority to grant anticipatory bail even when the First Information Report (FIR) is registered in another state [Priya Indoria vs State of Karnataka and Ors]. Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan emphasized the need for limited interim protection in the interest of justice, asserting, "an absolute bar on the jurisdiction...may lead to an anomalous and unjust consequence."
The bench highlighted the importance of interpreting fundamental rights contextually, preserving constitutional values, and securing citizens facing challenging circumstances. The Court outlined specific conditions for the grant of transit anticipatory bail, including issuing notice to the investigating officer and public prosecutor, recording reasons for apprehension of inter-state arrest, and satisfying the court regarding the inability to seek bail in the jurisdiction of the FIR.
The bench emphasized the significance of the concerned court assessing territorial proximity and 'exceptional and compelling circumstances' while cautioning against forum shopping. The ruling clarified that individuals cannot travel to other states solely to file bail pleas without clear reasons.
The case originated from a complainant who filed an FIR in Rajasthan, leading to the accused husband being granted anticipatory bail by a Bengaluru district judge. The top court, setting aside the Bengaluru court's order, directed that no coercive steps be taken against the accused for the next four weeks, allowing them to seek anticipatory bail in the jurisdictional court in Chirawa, Rajasthan.
This landmark decision provides clarity on the jurisdiction of courts in granting anticipatory bail, ensuring protection and justice for individuals across state borders.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University