No anticipatory bail in criminal cases: Supreme Court

Says only exception to the rule are cases in which mala fide is ‘manifestly intriguing’

Hasnaat Malik January 30, 2021
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


The apex court has declared that the accused in a criminal case cannot be granted anticipatory bail unless mala fide is “manifestly intriguing upon the intended arrest”.

“It is by now well-settled that the accused in a criminal case cannot be granted anticipatory bail to subvert or undermine investigative procedure/process.

“[This process] essentially includes arrest in order to bring the statutory exercise to its logical end for effective and meaningful prosecution of the offence through collection of information/evidence consequent upon arrest,” said a written order penned by Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed.

Justice Ahmed was part of a three-judge bench – presided over by Justice Mushir Alam – that heard the bail applications of two Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officers, arrested in a case registered with the FIA Anti-Corruption Circle (ACC) in Karachi.

The officers were accused to have received bribe of Rs24million from Sheikh Muhammad Munawar, arrayed as accused in a financial scam. Munawar had allegedly defrauded the Utility Stores Corporation to effect a massive sale transaction through a fake ISO certification.

During the inquiry, incriminatory statements of various witnesses were forensically confirmed from the computer CDR and ledgers secured from the custody of co-accused Abdul Qadir Memon, a front man. It was on the basis of this comprehensive probe that the petitioners braced for an impending prosecution.

The written order said: “A detailed parallel story narrated by the petitioners notwithstanding, they were admittedly at the helm of affairs to call the shot and thus in a position to rescue the complainant from the troubled situation he was trapped”.

It said various pieces of evidence including forensic data, beyond susceptibility of human interference unmistakably suggest a conduct perfidious to the call of their duty hence, prima facie, cognizable. The court, therefore, dismissed the bail applications.

The order said that mala fide – manifestly intriguing upon the intended arrest – is the only justification to suspend or divert the usual course of law in the case of anticipatory bails. However, this step is “most extraordinary by all means”


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