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Allahabad High Court Held That Frequent Non-appearance By A Party Is Akin To Forum Shopping And Criticized The Applicant And His Counsel’s Misconduct.

Ifrah Murtaza ,
  24 February 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad
Brief :

Citation :
Criminal misc. bail application No. 58263

Case title:

Jhinnu v. State of Uttar Pradesh & 2 Ors

Date of Order:

20.02.2024

Bench:

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Krishan Pahal

Parties:

Applicant: Jhinnu

Opposing Party: State of Uttar Pradesh & 2 Ors.

SUBJECT:

The Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad (hereinafter referred to as ‘the High Court’ or ‘the Court) dealt with a matter related to an individual named Jhinnu, wherein he had sought anticipatory bail. The applicant and his counsel frequently missed appearances and were opined to be abusing the judicial process by exploiting the pendency of the anticipatory bail application. The misconduct of the applicant was criticized and the application was consequently dismissed based on the findings of the report by the Chief Judicial Magistrate dated 15.02.2024.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC):

  • Section 438(5)

OVERVIEW:

  • Applicant filed an anticipatory bail application in 2019.
  • The applicant or any representative of the applicant did not appear in court on the date of the court session.
  • The Hon’ble Justice reviewed the case personally in the absence of the applicant and his counsel.

ISSUES RAISED:

  • Whether the anticipatory bail application should be based on as per the provisions of section 438 (5) of CrPC and other legal precedents?
  • Whether the report of the Chief Judicial Magistrate renders the application irrelevant?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:

  • The frequent non-appearance amounts to professional misconduct as applicant was forum-hunting.
  • The intention behind the non-appearance of the applicant was to derail the adjudication process.
  • The applicant was misusing the pendency of the anticipatory bail application to not participate in the investigation process.
  • The trial had already been rendered moot by the Chief Judicial Magistrate on 15.02.2024.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS:

  • Applicant cannot remain absent from court for the majority of dates without any proper explanation and use such tactics to delay justice.
  • Typically, an anticipatory bail application should be disposed of within a limited time frame, which is generally 30 days according to section 438 subsection 5 of CrPC.
  • In the case of Satender Kumar Antil v. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr, the Supreme Court held that the application for anticipatory bail should ideally be disposed of within 6 weeks.
  • The Court expressed its disapproval of the misuse of the judicial process by the applicant and his counsel.
  • It opined that the non-appearance was tantamount to bench hunting or forum shopping.
  • The Court condemned the misconduct of the applicant and the unprofessionalism of his counsel, observing that the applicant might be taking undue advantage of the pendency of the application to avoid participating in the investigation.
  • The Court expressed disdain towards the legal procedures by the applicant and reiterated the intention behind the setting of the time limit for the disposal of anticipatory bail applications.
  • In the case of Ishwarlal Mai Rathod v. Gopal, the Supreme Court discouraged routine adjournments and delays in dispensing justice.
  • It was found through a report by the Chief Judicial Magistrate that the trial related to the case had already been concluded rendering the anticipatory bail application.
  • The application was accordingly dismissed.

CONCLUSION:

The High Court emphasized the principles of fairness and access to justice. It condemned the exploitation of the state of pendency of the application by the applicant and dismissed the anticipatory bail application deeming it infructuous based on the findings of the CJM. Any interim protection granted previously to the applicant was also revoked. However, the Court granted the applicant liberty to file a regular application before a relevant court if need be.

 
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