SC Sets Aside Interim Orders of Patna HC Summoning Sahara Chief Subrata Roy
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday expressed displeasure with the interim orders passed by the Patna High Court (HC) in connection with Sahara India Group Head, Subrata Roy, in relation with an anticipatory bail application of a third person.
A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and JB Pardiwala observed that the HC, in an anticipatory bail application under Section 438 CrPC, had exceeded its jurisdiction. It noted that the HC passed orders directing the Sahara group to come up with a plan for return of the investment of the investors before the next date of hearing, and also sought Mr Roy's presence before it.
On 13th May, the top court stayed the HC's direction. It had also stayed a 11th February order by the HC directing to add Sahara Credit Cooperative Societies Ltd and Roy as opposite parties to a bail petition pending before it and later, directed him to personally appear before it. The HC on 27th April  had directed Mr Roy to personally appear before it. Mr Roy moved the top court against the HC orders.
Appearing for Mr Roy, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, along with advocate Nizam Pasha, said that even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has assailed the HC order
The top court noted that the HC issued the direction with respect to the return of investment, while exercising jurisdiction under Section 438 CrPC and made it clear it has not expressed any opinion that the HC cannot pass such an order, but this definitely, cannot be done while exercising power under Section 438 CrPC in an application for anticipatory bail.
"Let the high court exercise other jurisdiction. We have no problem. Not Section 438...," said the bench.
Counsel representing the respondent submitted that the HC had passed such sweeping orders in all economic offence cases and Mr Roy's matter is no exception. The bench said this is absolutely a wrong trend where on application of bail, the court started inquiring about issues not related to bail and emphasised that Section 438 has limited power.
The bench further remarked that if a sessions court were to pass such an order, then the high court would have come down heavily on it. Justice Pardiwala said in an application for anticipatory bail, the HC should not have emphasised on Mr Roy's presence.
The top court said the HC was not hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) and in a bail matter, the court either grants bail or does not.
The top court is likely to continue hearing the matter on Monday.
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