Why hasn’t bill to restore anticipatory bail been brought, SC asks UP

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government for not putting before the Assembly a bill to restore the legal provision for anticipatory bail that was taken away in 1975 during the Emergency.

A division bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice L.N. Rao asked the state to make its stand clear in two weeks and directed the state Law Secretary to be personally present in court on the next date of hearing to explain the government’s position.

Why has the Code of Criminal Procedure (UP) Amendment Bill 2010 not been placed before the Assembly after it was sent back by the President on some technical grounds in September 2011, the court asked.

“You want to create some problem or other. Are you willing to act or not? Why did the government not discharge its constitutional duties by getting the proposal passed in the Assembly with amendment?”

The apex court also sought the presence of a senior Central government officer and directed Senior Advocate Yashank Adhyaru to get instructions from the Union Home Ministry on the issue.

In 2010, the Mayawati government had got passed a law in the Assembly to provide for anticipatory bail, but the then President, while seeking some clarifications, had sent it back to the Governor in September 2011. Since then, the Uttar Pradesh government didn’t get the proposal passed again in the Assembly with amendment.

The apex court was hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Sanjeev Bhatnagar who sought restoration of Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides for the grant of anticipatory bail to a person apprehending arrest.

The said provision, the PIL said, was omitted in Uttar Pradesh by inserting Section 9 in the Uttar Pradesh Amendment Act, 1976, which came into effect from November 28, 1975.

Bhatnagar sought the quashing of this provision on the grounds of it being “invalid, illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution”.

The PIL said the present situation was leading to immense hardships to people, besides depriving them of their legal and constitutional right to equality before law.

Seeking the restoration of the provision for anticipatory bail, the petitioner said a larger public interest would be served if the apex court issued directions to the Uttar Pradesh government to this effect.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had noted that “it is imperative to re-establish the provision for anticipatory bail to enable the Sessions courts as well as the Allahabad High Court to grant anticipatory bail”.

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