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Blanket Pre Arrest Bail / Blanket Anticipatory Bail

One of the ways by which husband and his relatives can protect themselves from false prosecution under sections 406 & 498A of IPC is by filing for a Blanket Pre Arrest Bail / Blanket Anticipatory Bail, such that an advance notice can be given to the petitioners before the police takes any coercive action.

However, this remedy is to be used sparingly and in extraordinary cases only. The Supreme Court has cautioned sessions and High Courts against giving blanket protection to the accused while granting anticipatory bail in sensitive and heinous cases.

“Normally a direction should not be issued to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail ‘whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever.’ Such a ‘blanket order’ should not be passed as it would serve as a blanket to cover or protect any and every kind of allegedly unlawful activity,” said a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Lokeshwar Singh Panta.

Dealing with the scope of Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code (the power to grant anticipatory bail by the court of sessions and High Courts), the Bench said this power was somewhat extraordinary.

“Only in exceptional cases, where it appears that a person may be falsely implicated or where there are reasonable grounds for holding that a person accused of an offence is not likely to misuse his liberty, the power is to be exercised under Section 438.”

Writing the judgment for the Bench, Mr. Justice Pasayat said,

“An order under Section 438 is a device to secure an individual’s liberty; it is neither a passport to the commission of crimes nor a shield against any and all kinds of accusations, likely or unlikely.”

The Bench said the ground on which the belief of an accused was based — that he might be arrested for a non-bailable offence — must be “capable of being examined.” Each case had to be evaluated according to the material on record to find out whether a case for grant of relief was made out or not.


CRM-M- 20494/2017

Mr. Navkiran Singh, Advocate for Petitioners

In this case, when relationship between husband and wife became sour, she started threatening him and his family that she will falsely implicate all the members of the family in litigation. She filed an application for maintenance under section 125 CrPC, which showed that the wife of the petitioner was acting with vendetta and she was out to false implicate the husband and his family members. This showed her malafide intent. The family of husband was under constant fear that anytime a false complaint can be filed against any of them and they could be arrested.

Singh Lawyers  filed a petition for blanket pre-arrest bail as per guidelines issued in the case of Bharat Inder Chahal v. State of Punjab, 2007 (3) RCR (criminal) 977, Hon’ble Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court had held,

  • The analysis of both the decisions made it clear that “blanket order” of anticipatory Sail should not be “generally” passed. It also makes it clear that “normally” a direction should not be issued to the effect that the applicant shall be released on bail “whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever”.

  • It is clear that even under Section 438, Cr. P.C., if special circumstance/circumstances shown and in extraordinary case and ample materials placed, the Court to strike a balance between individual rights of personal freedom and the investigation right of the police, pass an appropriate order including the one directing the prosecution to give advance notice for a reasonable time. However, there cannot be a direction such as that the applicant shall be released on bail “whenever arrested for whichever offence whatsoever” without reference to special circumstances and acceptable material. As stated earlier, we make it clear that the duty lies on the Court considering application for the anticipatory bail to strike a balance between the applicant’s right to personal freedom as well as the investigation right of the police.

In this petition, Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana vide order dated 2nd June, 2017 was pleased to hold that,

It is submitted that the petitioners apprehend criminal action being initiated at the instance of the wife of petitioner No. 3 namely Kanika Chouhan. This apprehension has arisen on account of the petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. filed by her wherein allegations of ill-treatment have been raised. Petitioner No. 3, it is submitted, has appeared before the learned Judicial Magistrate First Class, Amritsar in the said proceedings on 29.05.2017 itself.

There are admittedly no criminal proceedings initiated by the wife of petitioner No. 3 at this stage. However, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, this petition is disposed of with a direction that in case any criminal proceedings are initiated by Smt. Kanika Chouhan, wife of petitioner No. 3, raising allegations as are contained in her petition (Annexure P-6), notice of three days be afforded to the petitioners before taking any coercive action.

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