The Uttarakhand government informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it was contemplating an amendment to restore the provision of anticipatory bail, as done by Uttar Pradesh, to enable its citizens to get pre-arrest relief.
It told a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and L N Rao that the state’s high court had last month held that section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which provides for grant of bail to persons apprehending arrest, would be applicable in Uttarakhand.
“438 CrPC is applicable. Provision of anticipatory bail is there in Uttarakhand now,” the state’s counsel said while referring to the high court’s order.
The counsel said the state “in principle” agrees that the section should be available to the citizens.
The Uttar Pradesh government too had recently informed the apex court that the state Assembly has passed an amendment to re-introduce the provision for anticipatory bail, scrapped during the Emergency in 1976, and it was awaiting assent of the President.
The apex court was hearing a plea which has sought re-introduction of the provision of anticipatory bail in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
During the hearing, the bench noted that section 438 of CrPC was rendered inapplicable in Uttar Pradesh by virtue of a 1976 amendment and Uttarakhand, which was carved out from Uttar Pradesh in November 2000, continued with this position.
“As far as Uttarakhand is concerned, we are informed by the deputy advocate general of Uttarakhand that the state was contemplating an amendment similar to the amendment passed by the state legislature of Uttar Pradesh (to re-introduce provision for anticipatory bail),” the bench noted.
The petitioner has sought restoration of the provision of anticipatory bail in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, saying its absence was “discriminatory” to the people of these states.
The top court had in 2008 recommended to the Uttar Pradesh government to take appropriate steps and bring an ordinance to restore the provision for anticipatory bail in the state.
Uttar Pradesh government had in 2010 brought an amendment in the law to include the provision for anticipatory bail.
The court had also asked Uttar Pradesh as to why it had not placed before the Assembly ‘The Code of Criminal Procedure Uttar Pradesh (Amendment) Bill, 2010’ after the President had withheld the assent and sent it back in September 2011.
In 2010, Uttar Pradesh had brought an amendment to restore the provision of section 438 of the CrPC. In August that year, the state Assembly had passed the Amendment Act to restore the provision.