Apex court warns HCs over granting ‘blanket orders’ against arrests
- Laying down a set of 18 parameters, the bench, headed by justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud, held that orders of “no coercive step” against accused, or staying arrests, could not be issued “routinely, casually or mechanically”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday cautioned the high courts against granting “blanket orders” staying investigations or preventing arrests in criminal cases, underscoring such orders affect the right of the police to probe under the law.
Laying down a set of 18 parameters, the bench, headed by justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud, held that orders of “no coercive step” against accused, or staying arrests, could not be issued “routinely, casually or mechanically”, without specifying extraordinary reasons and circumstances that necessitated such orders.
The bench, which included justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna, regretted that despite some judgments by the top court in the past, it was regularly coming across many orders by the high courts staying arrests or directing ‘no coercive steps against the accused’ without assigning any reasons.
“Granting of such blanket order would not only adversely affect the investigation but would have far-reaching implications for maintaining the Rule of Law. Where the investigation is stayed for a long time, even if the stay is ultimately vacated, the subsequent investigation may not be very fruitful for the simple reason that the evidence may no longer be available,” stated the judgment, authored by justice Shah.
The bench laid down the guidelines while setting aside the September 2020 order of the Bombay high court, protecting a director of a real-estate development company and his business partners in a case of cheating and forgery against them. The accused had moved a writ petition before the high court, which passed the interim order of ‘no coercive measures’ in their favour while adjourning the matter to a future date.
The complainant company, Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, challenged the interim order in the top court. The bench said that such orders were “not justified at all”.