Case: – Priya Indoria v/s State of Karnataka and Ors. Etc.; Criminal Appeal No. 3549 of 2023
The recent judgment by the Supreme Court in the above cited case has addresses the issue of granting anticipatory bail when the FIR is registered in a different state from where the accused seeks protection. The Court ruled that the Sessions Court or High Court, depending on the case, has the authority to grant limited anticipatory bail, even if the FIR is outside its territorial jurisdiction. The judgment emphasizes the importance of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the principles of access to justice.
The Apex Court acknowledged that denying transit anticipatory bail solely on the ground of territorial jurisdiction would impose an undue restriction on the powers under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Such a restriction could lead to a miscarriage of justice and adversely affect the accused who is anticipating arrest. The Court highlighted that Section 438 CrPC does not explicitly mention territorial jurisdiction.
To ensure a balanced approach, the Court outlined certain conditions for granting transit bail. These include issuing notice to the Investigating Officer and the Public Prosecutor, recording reasons for the apprehension of inter-state arrest, and ensuring that the applicant satisfies the court regarding the inability to seek bail from the court with territorial jurisdiction. The grounds for seeking extraterritorial anticipatory bail include an immediate threat to life, personal liberty, bodily harm, jurisdiction of the FIR, and the right to access justice.
The judgment also addressed the potential abuse of the legal process and the risk of forum shopping by the accused. To prevent such abuse, the Court emphasized the need for a territorial connection or proximity between the accused and the court’s jurisdiction where anticipatory bail is sought. This connection could be based on factors such as place of residence, occupation, work, or profession.

Author of this article:
Adv. Ravish Bhatt,
Partner, R&D Law Chambers,
Dual Qualified Lawyer Solicitor | International Tax Affiliate

Connect with Mr. Bhatt on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adit-ravishbhatt/

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