HC directive to Presiding Officers on questions relating to fundamental rights

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Apr 18: High Court has asked all the Presiding Officers of the subordinate courts to show more sensitivity in dealing with questions relating to fundamental rights of the citizens like right to liberty.
The directive has been issued by Justice Janak Raj Kotwal while allowing petition filed by one Kuldeep Raj seeking quashment of order of cancellation of bail passed by Judicial Magistrate Akhnoor.
“In the instant case, even if the Magistrate was satisfied about the reason for which cancellation of bail was sought by the prosecution, cancellation of bail was not the only option to deal with the situation”, Justice Kotwal said, adding “there is no dearth in the criminal law of the provisions relating to preventive measures. Therefore, while allowing this revision petition, it is made clear that it shall remain open for the law enforcing agencies to take appropriate preventive measure in the matter, if the need still be”.
“In bailable offences, cancellation of bail is not permissible, given the very nature of the offence. The only power available to the court under Sub-Section (2) of Section 496 of the Code is to refuse to release the accused, if he has failed to comply with the conditions of bail bond as regards the time and place of attendance when he appears before the court on a subsequent occasion or is brought in custody”, High Court said, adding “if during trial for a bailable offence, accused does not appear before the court on a date of hearing and court issues warrant of arrest for securing his appearance before the court, the court may refuse to release him when he appears or is brought in custody before the court on or before the next date in the case”.
Justice Kotwal further observed, “Magistrate has erred in cancelling the bail. Revisional Court has similarly erred in not taking note of this important aspect of the order passed by the Magistrate. It appears, the Revisional Court was concerned more with the maintainability of the revision petition”.
“The question of maintainability of the revision petition should not have been considered, shorn of consideration to the question as to whether the Magistrate had the jurisdiction to pass the order cancelling bail in a bailable offence”, High Court said.