Bail pleas arising from same FIR should not be listed before different benches: Supreme Court to Orissa High Court

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The Supreme Court recently took exception to the Orissa High Court listing bail applications of accused in cases involving the same criminal complaint, before different single-judge benches [Pradhan Jani vs State of Odisha].

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sanjay Karol observed that such a practice creates an ‘anomalous situation’ where certain accused in the same case are granted bail while others are not.

“In many of the High Courts, the practice followed is that the applications arising out of the same FIR should be placed before one Judge. However, it appears that it is not the practice in Orissa High Court. In the present case, we have come across orders passed by at least three different judges in the applications of various accused arising out of same FIR. Such a practice leads to anomalous situation. Certain accused are granted bail whereas certain accused for the very same crime having similar role are refused bail,” the top court noted in its order dated May 15.

The Supreme Court’s judicial registrar was directed to forward a copy of its order to the Orissa High Court’s registrar general.

The latter was directed to take note of the situation, and consider passing appropriate orders to avoid the same.

The observations came while allowing an appeal against a High Court order rejecting bail.

The bench noted that various applications filed by different accused had been entertained by different single-judges.

The order under challenge was quashed and set aside, and remanded for a fresh decision to be delivered within a month.

“The High Court is requested to consider the effect of the orders passed by the other coordinate Benches,” the Supreme Court said.

Advocates Jitendra Mohapatra, Bhuwan Raj, Priyam Agarwal, and Jasleen Kaur Sawhney represented the appellants.

Advocates Suvendu Suvasis Dash, Swati Vaibhav, Shruti Vaibhav, and Priyankoo Anjan Gogoi represented the respondents.

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