'Liberty Is So Precious; But We Must Give A Sense Of Responsibility To High Courts' : SC On 'Routine' Stay Orders Under Section 482 CrPC
The Supreme Court expressed concern on Tuesday about a growing trend among High Courts across the country to routinely grant interim relief in the form of a stay on any coercive action pending the outcome of a writ petition or a plea under section 482, CrPC, seeking to have criminal proceedings quashed. The bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud, M. R. Shah, and Sanjiv Khanna was considering an SLP filed in response to a Bombay High Court order on a writ petition issued in September 2020. While granting time to file a reply affidavit with additional documents, the High Court had ordered that no coercive measures be taken against the present respondents (a director of a real estate development company and his business partners) in relation to the FIR filed by the present petitioner (Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt Ltd) with the Economic Offences Wing for allocating funds to a foreign country.
The bench noted that on October 15, 2019, the Additional Sessions Judge of the City Sessions Court in Mumbai issued three orders under Section 438 of the CrPC granting the respondents interim immunity from arrest. Liberty is extremely valuable. We don't want the courts to be devoid of authority. Exceptional circumstances can occur. However, we must instil a sense of transparency in the High Courts, Justice Chandrachud said.