The Supreme Court has held that courts cannot indiscriminately grant anticipatory bails unless the accused has genuine apprehension of being arrested.
Issuing such blanket orders would only give an opportunity for an accused to cover his/her unlawful activity, the apex court said while quashing the anticipatory bails granted to three persons by the Patna High Court in a murder case.
"An order under Section 438 is a device to secure the individual's liberty, it is neither a passport to the commission of crimes nor a shield against any and all kinds of accusations likely or unlikely," a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and L S Panta said.
Section 438 of the IPC refers to grant of anticipatory bail, also known as pre-arrest bail, to a person who apprehends arrest by police for the commission of an alleged offence.
According to the apex court, a person seeking anticipatory bail must show that he has "reason to believe" that he may be arrested in a non-bailable offence.
The bench said the expression "reason to believe" shows that the applicant may be arrested, must be founded on reasonable grounds.