In the view of the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, a division bench of the Orissa High Court has extended all interim protections given by the High Court or Sessions Courts, which are likely to expire on May 4, till June 18, 2020.
“Interim protection given in all the Anticipatory bail applications by the High Court or Session Courts for a limited period, which was expired on dated May 04, 2020, shall stand extended till 18th June 2020”, said the High Court order.
As almost the entire police force is engaged in ensuring enforcement of lockdown across the state, the High Court’s advisory, which would be in force till June 18, comes as a relief. The High Court also asked police personnel not to be in a hurry to arrest the accused without complying with the provision of Section 41 (A) [Notice of appearance before Police Officer] of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, till 18th June 2020.
However, the Court mentioned that it is not an interdict or a direction to curb the power of the police to arrest. Rather, it is an advisory issued given the present crisis. It has to be followed by the police so far as it is practicable and possible.
All the interim bail granted under Section 439 [Special powers of High Court & Sessions Court regarding bail] of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, are limited by time-frame specifying an expiry date, stands extended till June 18, 2020, subject to the condition that, on every 10 days from 5th June the defence counsel shall file a petition supported by affidavit before the competent Court in Session over the matter, to the effect that the person on interim bail is not abusing his/her liberty within the jurisdiction of the Court”.
The Court also put in abeyance, any orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition, anticipatory bail, parole, bail granted under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. etc till June 18, 2020.
In the order, it was stated that, in this face of the crisis, we are sincerely concerned with the plight of the citizens and the litigants, and we observed that there was a majority of poor in the State. It was further stated that these people are not in a position to come to the court in such a situation to seek legal remedies and the High Court does not want a rush of litigants in the Courts in contravention of the “Social Distancing” discipline.
The order also stated that “intending to ensure that the litigants and citizens do not suffer on account of their inability to approach the Court of Law, we propose to invoke our plenary power under Article 226 & power of Superintendence under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, our inherent power over the Criminal matters under Section 482 [Saving of inherent powers of High Court] of the Cr.P.C, our power of Superintendence over Criminal Courts under Section 483 [Duty of HC to exercise continuous superintendence over Courts of Judicial Magistrates] of Cr.P.C and our inherent power over the Civil matters under Section 151 [Saving of inherent powers of the code] of the CPC.
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