The Karnataka High Court has said that a magistrate or sessions judge cannot issue non-bailable warrant (NBW) without assigning specific reasons.
“It is incumbent on the magistrate or the sessions judge to satisfy him self whether a non-baila ble warrant should be is sued on account of compelling circumstances,“ Justice A N Venugoapala Gowda said in his order while quashing the nonbailable warrant issued by an additional city civil and session judge to 55 persons.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code, there is no obligation on the part of an accused to appear before the court, the judge said, adding that if there is no violation of bail conditions, an NBW would violate the accused’s fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The 55 petitioners, 50 of them hailing from Gujarat and others from Rajasthan, had challenged the October 23, 2014 NBW issued by the session judge, who is also officiating as special judge for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases.
On July 12, 2014, the CCB police (N T Pete) had registered cases against the petitioners along with six others for offences under Sections 79, 80 of the Karnataka Police Act , section 34 of Karnataka Excise Act and section 20(b) of the NDPS Act for betting and possession of illicit liquor and marijuana.
The petitioners claimed that since they were on bail and no charge sheet had been filed due to non-completion of the investigation, there was no necessity for them to appear before the court. The petitioners, who were granted bail along with the other six, did not appear in court on October 23, 2014 and also did not seek exemption as done by the others.