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The Sree Padmanabhaswamy verdict: A case for Indic civilisational identity

Every successor of Sree Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma abided by this tradition, including when the Princely State of Travancore acceded to the Indian Union in 1949 under the stewardship of the then king Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma who signed the instrument of accession as the Sree Padmanabhadasa.

J. Sai Deepak

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Five days ago, on July 13th, a Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice U.U.Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra pronounced the verdict in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple case, which was pending before it since 2011. The 218-page verdict has finally put to rest all the unnecessary controversy surrounding the worldrenowned Temple which is the object of worship and reverence for millions of devotees of the Presiding Deity the world over. The Temple and the Travancore Royal Family, which have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, stand vindicated by the judgement of the Apex Court which has restored the control and management of the Temple and all its assets to the titular head of the Family. This was the result of a detailed analysis of the nature of relationship between the Temple and the Head of the Family (“Ruler”).

The relationship itself makes for an extremely interesting study not just from a religious or a legal perspective, but also from a civilizational perspective because it informs us of the pride of place given to places of worship in and by the civilization of this ancient land and its rulers. Since unfortunately neither the Indian State nor schools nor families have either the intent or awareness of these fundamental underpinnings of Bharat, the judgement of the Supreme Court could perhaps serve as a catalyst to start a discussion on such issues. In fact, a comparison between the verdict of the Kerala High Court of January 30, 2011 in the very same case which resulted in the matter reaching the Supreme Court, and the current outcome itself speaks volumes of the identity crisis faced by the Bharatiya/Indic civilization.

The histories of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and the erstwhile Travancore Princely State are inextricably intertwined, so much so that the Deity of the Temple was treated as the Ruler of the Princely State thanks to the dedication of the Kingdom of Travancore in January 1750 to the Deity by its legendary ruler Sree Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. This author, who represented the Chief Thantri (Priest) of the Temple and devotee organizations as intervenors in the proceedings before the Supreme Court to present their challenge to and grievances with the judgement of the Kerala High Court, had the occasion to place before the Court several Indic sources and colonial records which established the antiquity of the relationship between the Travancore Royal Family and the Temple even before 1750.

These sources attest to the fact that the relationship is traceable to the very founding of the Family and the consecration of the Temple, and at the very least to the dedication of the State to the Deity in 1750 which effectively made the king the vice-regent of the Ruler, namely the Deity, and the king became “a Sree Padmanabhadasa”, an eternal servant of the Deity, the earthly representative of the Deity and a custodian of His Temple and His property. All decisions were taken in the name of the Deity and all covenants and treaties were signed by the king on behalf of the Deity as His Padmanabhadasa. All Royal Proclamations were issued in the name of the Deity who was also referred to as the “Deshanathan” i.e. Lord of the State.

Every successor of Sree Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma abided by this tradition, including when the Princely State of Travancore acceded to the Indian Union in 1949 under the stewardship of the then king Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma who signed the instrument of accession as the Sree Padmanabhadasa. Even after the accession and after the abolition of royal titles and privileges by the 26th amendment to the constitution in 1971, the tradition has continued till date wherein every titular head of the Travancore Royal Family has the prefix Sree Padmanabhadasa before his name, which informs the very identity of the Family and the erstwhile State.

On the Family’s commitment to the Deity and the Temple, Shri V.P.Menon, best known as the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of States under Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, recorded in his book “The Story of Integration of the Indian States” as follows:

 “He (the Maharajah) added that he governed the State on behalf and as a servant of Sri Padmanabha and that he attached great importance to this position being maintained; that if no satisfactory solution on these points was possible, and if the Government of India still insisted on the integration of the two States he would rather abdicate than act against his convictions…. Lastly, he felt that on account of the dedication of the State to Sri Padmanabha and the special loyalty and devotion which the rulers of Travancore owed to that deity, it would not be possible for him to take the usual oath of office as Rajpramukh…. I reached Trivandrum on 21 May and had several meetings with the Maharajah. I told him that, with goodwill on both sides, there was no reason why we should not come to an agreement. The first hurdle was the Maharajah’s inability to take the oath of office as head of the State. The devotion of the present Maharajah to Sri Padmanabha borders on fanaticism; he rules the State not as its head but as a servant of the tutelary deity.

 A problem peculiar to Travancore-Cochin related to the properties attached to temples, called Devaswoms. It is necessary to give some explanation of the history of the Devaswoms in each of these States. Travancore had been ruled by an unbroken line of Hindu kings from the earliest times and had retained throughout the centuries its essential character of a Hindu State. The most important temple in this State has always been, and still is, the Sri Padmanabha temple, richly endowed and possessing very extensive landed properties….

I discussed the question with the ministries, as well as with the Maharajah of Travancore. Eventually we came to an agreement by which the annual payment of Rs.51 lakhs made to the temples by the Travancore Government would be continued and out of this amount a sum of Rs.6 lakhs would be contributed annually for the maintenance of the Sri Padmanabha temple.

The most difficult issue related to the administration of this grant. After prolonged discussion it was agreed that the administration of the Sri Padmanabha temple should be conducted under the control and supervision of the Maharajah through an executive officer to be appointed by him. It was decided that there should be a committee of three Hindu members nominated by the Maharajah to advise him; and that one of the three should be nominated on the advice of the Hindu members of the Council of ministers. With regard to the other temples in Travancore, a body to be called the Travancore Devaswom Board would be set up. This Board would consist of three Hindu members, one of whom would be nominated by the Maharajah, one elected by the Hindus among the Council of Ministers and one by the Hindu members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union. …

These decisions were subsequently incorporated in the covenant. Later on, when the Constitution of India was being finalized, a provision was included to safeguard the payment to the temples in Travancore by making it charged and non-votable by the Legislature of the Union.”

 These extracts, which the Supreme Court has reproduced in its judgement, make it abundantly clear that the Travancore Royal Family placed such importance on its relationship with the Deity and the Temple that it became perhaps the most important aspect of the negotiations with the Indian Union at the time of the State’s accession. It is precisely as a consequence of these negotiations that Article VIII of the Covenant jointly entered into in May 1949 by the then rulers of the Princely States of Travancore and Cochin with the Indian Union expressly guaranteed to the then Ruler of the Travancore State, Shri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, and his successors the right to control and manage the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

Pursuant to the said Article VIII of the Covenant, Chapter III (Sections 18-23) of the Travancore Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act 1950 (‘the TCHRI Act 1950’), which is the legislation that applies to administration of Temples in Kerala by Devaswom Boards (religious endowment boards), specifically deals with the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and expressly codifies the rights guaranteed under the Covenant to the Travancore Royal Family. As negotiated during the accession, under Sections 18-23 of the said Act, the Ruler of the Family is empowered to administer the Temple through an Executive Officer appointed by him, with the advice of a three-member Advisory Committee nominated again by him.

Despite such clear codifications of the sacred relationship in the Covenant as well as in the TCHRI Act, it was called into question in a Writ Petition filed in 2009 before the Kerala High Court by a tenant, a practising advocate, when he was asked by the Temple’s management to vacate the premises owned by the Temple. This led to the judgement of 2011 of the Kerala High Court in a batch of writ petitions and civil suits, wherein the High Court held that the Head/ ‘Ruler’ of the Travancore Royal Family and his successors had no right to control or manage the affairs of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple after the death in 1991 of the Ruler who had signed the Covenant, and also owing to the abolition of all royal titles by the Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Act, 1971.

 To add to this, the High Court had issued detailed directions which empowered the State Government of Kerala to constitute a trust to take over the control of the Temple, its assets and management. Critically, such a trust was authorised by the High Court’s judgment to open all the vaults of the Temple, inventorise all their contents and create a museum to exhibit all the ‘treasures’ of the Temple for the public, devotees and tourists on a payment basis within the premises of the Temple. In other words, apart from re-writing the history of the relationship between the Family and Temple, the High Court’s judgement severed the nexus which is central to the Temple and its guardians. And the State Government, supposedly a secular body, was invited to take over a religious institution and throw open all that was held as sacred for public viewing in a museum on a payment basis within the sacred premises of the Temple, regardless of whether the visitor was a practising Hindu or not.

Simply put, the object of “Darshan” was reduced to an article of “Pradarshan” and a source for collection of revenues to benefit a secular State. So much for all the pontification and platitudes on principles of secularism and the separation of the State and Temple which one gets to hear so often in the public discourse. Clearly, the sanctity of the Temple as well as the idea of secularism were both casualties of the High Court’s judgement. To make matters worse for the Temple, its security risks skyrocketed because of all the irresponsible “treasure” talk by Governments which were eyeing them. This, in turn, made the Temple more dependent on the state for its security. Long story short, everything that is unconstitutional, untenable and unsustainable with state control of Temples was facilitated by a judgment of the constitutional court of the most literate state of the country.

In stark contrast, the Supreme Court’s judgement has set the balance right by recognising the sacred and special relationship between the Travancore Royal Family and the Temple which was evidenced and endorsed by Article VIII of the Covenant. The Court has recognised that Article VIII represents the acknowledgement by the Indian Union of the special relationship of Shebaitship (the earthly custodian and representative of the Deity) that exists between the Travancore Royal Family and Lord Padmanabhaswamy. The Court has further recognised that the relationship was independent of and unrelated to any titles bestowed upon Indian rulers by the British. Therefore, according to the court, the 26th Amendment of 1971 to the Indian Constitution has no bearing on the pre-existing special relationship between the Travancore Royal Family and the Temple since the amendment was meant to abolish only those titles and privileges which came in the way of the republican character of independent India.

The Court has held categorically that Article VIII of the Covenant forms the basis of Chapter III (Sections 18-23) of the TCHRI Act 1950 which specifically deals with the administration of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, and which has never been amended by the State Government of Kerala despite having undertaken multiple amendments to the TCHRI Act 1950 before and after the 26th amendment, and even after the death of the original signatory to the Covenant in 1991. As a way forward the Court has laid down an administrative structure based largely on the suggestions of the Travancore Royal Family which ensures that the overall control and supervision remains the titular head of the Family as promised in the Covenant and envisaged by the TCHRI Act. However, the Supreme Court has left it to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple to bear its security expenses, which is a matter of concern given the fact that the Temple’s exposure to security risks was caused by the constant talk of its ‘treasures’ by both the State and Union Governments between 2009 and 2011. Therefore, it would only be just and fair for either of the two governments or both to bear the security expense of the Temple.

All said and done, while the Supreme Court’s verdict restores the relationship between the Temple and its guardian Family which is bound to generate a lot of debate around its specifics, the larger civilizational question which merits deeper deliberation is the treatment of the nerve centres of the Indic civilizational identity and their traditions by contemporary institutions, which seem completely cut off from the moorings of this land. If every centre of civilizational importance has to constantly fight for its identity and survival as supplicants before the contemporary institutions of its own land, how different is the situation from the colonial era? If contemporary institutions cannot appreciate the sanctity of Indic religious spaces and view them primarily and merely as public spaces for revenue collection, are they doing justice to constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and expectations of such spaces and their adherents? Since constitutional morality appears to be the flavour of the season, and has been for quite a while, the question that perhaps deserves to be asked and answered is, which canon of constitutional morality permits such treatment of institutions and practices native to this land? Or is such treatment reserved exclusively for institutions and practices native to this land?

Unfortunately, turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to such questions has been the norm for decades now, the fond hope being that the situation has turned the corner thanks to the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict in this case. Will a similar civilizationally aware and sensitive approach be adopted in similar matters which relate to Indic traditions? Is the verdict the new normal or an exception? Will we continue to the pit the civilization against the Constitution in adversarial modes? Only time will tell.

 J. Sai Deepak is an Advocate practising as an arguing counsel before the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court.

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GAUHATI HIGH COURT QUASHES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST GRAM PANCHAYAT PRESIDENT CITING PARTICIPATION OF MEMBER DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING THREE CHILDREN

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The Gauhati High Court in the case Jugitawali Pawe v State of Assam and 15 ors observed and quashed a resolution expressing no-confidence in the petitioner – the President of a Gram Panchayat, as a result of which she as removed from office. It was stated that it is as per the citing no compliance with Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995.

It was preferred by the petitioner to the materials available on record to argue that one of the members of the Gaon Panchayat, the respondent. The respondent voted against the petitioner and had given birth to her third child the previous year. Moreover, by virtue of Section 111(2)(a) of the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995, the petitioner stood automatically disqualified on the date of voting. Following, which her vote was taken by passing No-confidence motion.

It was prayed by the petitioner in the plea for setting aside the impugned resolution and for issuance of a direction to restore his client back in the office. Thereafter, to initiate fresh proceedings, liberty should be granted to the respondent, following the due process.

It was agreed by the Counsel representing for the respondent that the said member of the panchayat had been disqualified but retained on the ground that the disqualification would have no bearing on the petitioner’s case, as the impugned resolution was passed before the declaration of petitioner disqualification.

In the present case, It was noticed by Justice Suman Shyam the member had voted against the petitioner and without her vote. The petitioner would not have been ousted from office. Justice Shyam also found no dispute about the fact that the member had incurred disqualification under the law prior the date of adoption of the impugned resolution. Justice Shyam found it unnecessary to delve into other aspects of the matter which includes the procedural formalities for declaring the member a disqualified candidate.

It is observed that the impugned resolution was declared to be vitiated and liable to be set aside. Further, the Court restored the petitioner to the office of the President of the Bongalmara Gaon Panchayat with immediate effect and it was stated by the court that the order will not stand in the way should the authorities or any member of the Gaon Panchayat propose a fresh motion of “no-confidence” against the petitioner and the due process of law needs to be followed.

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Halt DDA’s demolition action against jhuggis in Nizamuddin’s Gyaspur area, orders Delhi High Court

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, the residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

The Delhi High Court in the case Manoj Gupta & Ors. v. DDA & Ors observed and has ordered status quo on the Delhi Development Authority’s proposal to demolish jhuggi clusters in city’s Gyaspur area in Hazrat Nizamuddin. The vacation bench comprising of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed in the petition filled by the residents and the court granted an interim relief.

It was ordered by the court status quo till July 11, the next date of hearing.

The bench orally remarked that a ten-day delay in demolition won’t make a difference but if today it is demolished and later, we come to know that they were entitled, who’s going to… the bench will consider it on July 11, 2022 but in the Meanwhile, some protections are entitled them. Adding this, Status quo be maintained. If since 1995, they have been there, heavens won’t come down if for 10 more days they are protected.

In the plea the petitioner stated that the T-Huts settlement in the area, which was stated by the authorities to vacate. It has been in existence for almost two decades and compromise of 32 jhuggis or households.

In the plea it was alleged that the bulldozers have been parked around the camp and a DDA official has orally asked them to vacate the area and it is noted that till date no proper notice have been sent to them nor has DDA conducted any survey of the area.

Furthermore, the DDA did not provide any alternate arrangement for their rehabilitation which resulted in extreme distress among the residents.

Moreover, it was admitted by the petitioner that the land in question belongs to DDA and they may seek that status-quo to be maintained at the site. It was urged that the residents should not be physically dispose or evicted from the demolition site until the survey is conducted and rehabilitation is provided to the residents as per the DUSIB policy of 2015.

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. The residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

It is observed that in the case Ajay Maken v. Union of India, Reliance is placed on the Supreme Court decision and the High Court decision in the case Sudama Singh & Ors. v. Government of Delhi & Anr, it was held in the case that that removal of jhuggis without ensuring relocation would amount of gross violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Further, it was held that the agencies conducting the demolitions ought to conduct survey before undertaking any demolition.

It is submitted that these observations would apply across the board, in the entire NCT of Delhi.

Advocates Vrinda Bhandari, Shiyaz Razaq, Kaoliangpou Kamei, Jepi Y Chisho and Paul Kumar Kalai, represented the petitioner.

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TELANGANA HIGH COURT: PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THE ARBITRATOR WOULD NOT BE THE SEAT OF ARBITRATION

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The High Court of Telangana in the case M/s S. Square Infra v. Garneni Chalapathi Rao observed and held that the place of residence of the arbitrator would not determine the seat of arbitration.

The Single bench comprising of Justice P. Sree Sudha observed and held that merely because an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad has been appointed, it does not mean that only the Courts at Hyderabad would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of arbitration agreement.

Facts of the Case:

In the present case, after the dispute arouse between the parties, the respondent sent a letter to the petitioner for nomination an arbitrator who is residing in Hyderabad. To its said notice, petitioner replied and declined the appointment of the arbitrator for the reason that there was no dispute which required the appointment of an arbitrator.

A suit was filled by the respondent before the VII Additional District Judge Sangareddy, seeking for relief of permanent injunction. An application was filled by the petitioner under Section 8 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act and the parties referred to the arbitration.

An application was filled by the respondent under section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act before the Principal District Judge, Sangareddy, Subsequently, an application was filled by the petitioner for transferring the application from the Court at Sangareddy to Court at Hyderabad.

Contentions made by Parties:

On the following grounds, the petitioner sought the transfer of application.

An arbitrator residing in Hyderabad was nominated to respondent. However, only the courts in Hyderabad would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of the arbitration.

It was stated that the nomination of an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad amounted to designating Hyderabad as the Seat of Arbitration.

On the following grounds, the respondent countered the submissions of the petitioner:

An application was filled by the petitioner under Section 8 of the A&C Act before the Court at Sangareddy. However, in terms of Section 42 of the A&C Act, only the court at Sangareddy would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of arbitration.

Court Analysis:

The Court held that the seat of arbitration would not be decide by the place of residence of the arbitrator.

The argument of the petitioner was rejected by the court that since the respondent had initially nominated an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad, the Hyderabad Court would have the jurisdiction.

The court stated that merely because a party has nominated an arbitrator who resides in Hyderabad, the same would not designate Hyderabad as the Seat of arbitration in absence of any designation of the seat under the arbitration agreement.

It was further stated by the court that the application filled by the petitioner filled under Section 8 application before the Court at Sangareddy consequent to which the parties were referred to arbitration. Therefore, the Court would have the jurisdiction, in terms of Section 42 of the A&C Act.

The Transfer petition was dismissed by the Court.

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DELHI HIGH COURT REMANDS IN THE MATTER BACK TO ASSESSING OFFICER AFTER SETTING ASIDE: JUST 3 DAYS’ TIME GRANTED TO RESPOND TO THE INCOME TAX NOTICE

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

The Delhi High Court in the case Shubham Thakral Vs ITO, the Delhi bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora observed and remanded the matter back to the assessing officer as just 3 days’ time was granted to respond to the income tax notice.

In the present case, the petitioner/assessee assailed the notice under Section 148A (b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the order passed under Section 148A (d) for the Assessment Year 2018–19.

It was contended by the assessee that only three days’ time was granted to the assessee to respond, as against the mandatory statutory period of at least seven days. However, despite of the fact that the annexure attached to the notice gave the petitioner eight days to respond, the e-filing submission portal was closed earlier, in violation of Section 148A (b) of the Income Tax Act.

Furthermore, the petitioner relied on the decision of Delhi High Court, in the case of Shri Sai Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Ltd versus ITO, the Delhi High Court in the case held that under Section 148A (b), a minimum time of seven days has to be granted to the assessee to file its reply to the show cause notice.

No objections were raised by the department/respondent to the matter being returned to the Assessing Officer for a fresh decision in accordance with the law. Accordingly, the court set aside the order passed under Section 148A (d) for the Assessment Year 2018-19. The Assessing officer was directed by the court to pass a fresh reasoned order in accordance with the law after considering the reply of the petitioner, which was directed to be filed within a week.

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ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT: ADVOCATES SHOULDN’T ADVISE CLIENTS TO REAGITATE MATTERS IF THERE IS NO ERROR APPARENT ON FACE OF RECORD

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The Allahabad High Court in the case Malhan and 17 Others Vs. State Of U.P. And Another observed and stated that an advocate should be given such a piece of advice when there is no error apparent on the face of the record nor was there any reason why the matter be re-agitated it was finally decided.

The bench comprising of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Vivek Varma observed while dealing with the civil review application wherein the bench observed the concerned advised his client to make a chance by filling the instant review application after a period of six year.

In the present case, a civil review petition was filled along with the application under section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963., the application was filled for seeking condonation of delay in filling the application, the application was filled with a delay of six years i.e., 1900 days.

It was stated by the applicant that the review application could not be filled due to the blockage of public transportation on account of the COVID-19 guidelines.

Moreover, the court observed that the appeals were disposed of by the Apex Court in the year 2016 and only in 2020-2021, the pandemic struck India and furthermore, it cannot be said that due to the COVID guidelines the public transportation was blocked and however, the applicant could not come to Allahabad Court to file review.

Further, it was stated that the court asked the counsel for the review applicants to explain the delay in filling the review application, to which the council gave a strange reply that the counsel had advised the clients that they must take a chance by filling this review application after a period of six years.

Following this, the Court observed:

The court noted that an advocate should not give such an advice when there is no error apparent on the face of record nor was there any other reason that when the matter was finally decided, why the matter be re-agitated.

It was stated that the court has no reason to condone the delay of six years as the same was not explained as to why this review application is filed after such an inordinate delay.

The Court opined that the lapse in approaching the court within the time is understandable but a total inaction for long period of delay without any explanation whatsoever and that too in absence of showing any sincere attempt on the part of suiter, this would add to his negligence and the relevant factor going against him.

The court observed that careless and reckless is shown by the review applicant in approaching the court and due to the condemnation of delay in the application with a token cost of Rs.10,000/, the court dismissed the application.

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SUPREME COURT CRITICISES HIGH COURT: POSTING ANTICIPATORY BAIL PLEA AFTER TWO MONTHS CAN’T BE APPRECIATED

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The Supreme Court in the case Sanjay versus The State (NCT of Delhi) & ANR observed and stated that in the case where personal liberty is involved, the court is expected to pass orders at the earliest while taking into account the merits of the matter in one way or other. Further, the top court observed that posting of an application for anticipatory bail after a couple of months cannot be appreciated by the court.

The bench comprising of Justice C. T. Ravikumar and the Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia was hearing a June 2 SLP against the Delhi High Court in a petition filed under section 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for seeking anticipatory bail in a 2022 FIR, a notice is issued. It was stated that the learned APP for the state is present and accepts the notice and seeks time to file status report. The High Court in the impugned order stated that Let the status report be filed by the state prior to the next date with an advance copy to the learned counsel for the petitioner. The matter is to be list on 31.08.2022.

It was noted by the bench comprising of Justice Ravikumar and the Justice Dhulia that in the captioned Special Leave Petition, the grievance of the petitioner is that the application for anticipatory bail moved by the petitioner, being Crl. M.A. No. 11480 of 2022 in Bail Application No. 1751 of 2022 without granting any interim protection, was posted to 31.08.2022. on 24.05.2022, the bail application was moved on.

However, the bench asserted that the bench is of the considered view that in a matter involving personal liberty, the Court is expected to to pass orders at the earliest while taking into account the merits of the matter in one way or other.

It was declared by the bench that at any rate posting an application for anticipatory bail after a couple of months cannot be appreciated by the court.

Further, the bench requested to the High Court to dispose off the application for anticipatory bail on its own merits and in accordance with law expeditiously, preferably within a period of three weeks after reopening of the Court. Adding to it, the bench stated that if the main application could not be disposed off, for any reason, within the stipulated time, relief sought for in the interlocutory and on and on its own merits, the application shall be considered.

While disposing of the SLP, the bench directed in its order that we grant interim protection from arrest to the petitioner herein, Till such time.

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