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The Hindu
The Hindu
Legal Correspondent

Patna HC exceeded jurisdiction by summoning Sahara group chief Subrata Roy, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday decided that the Patna High Court exceeded its jurisdiction by summoning Sahara group chief Subrata Roy in an anticipatory bail case completely unrelated to him and ordering him to come up with a plan to return investors' money.

Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, leading a Bench comprising Justice J.B. Pardiwala, conveyed his displeasure by remarking that he could, after being a judge for 22 years, without hesitation say that this was a case in which the High Court had stepped out of bounds.

"This was a case of anticipatory bail of another person. This was also not a PIL. In my limited experience of 22 years as a judge I can say this order has gone beyond its jurisdiction," Justice Khanwilkar remarked in the hearing.

The Supreme Court had earlier stayed the High Court orders of February 11 and April 27 against Sahara Credit Cooperative Societies Limited and Mr. Roy.

”In the present case, we have noticed that the High Court kept the application for grant of anticipatory bail pending and issued directions, including to issue notice to a third party [Mr. Roy] to appear before the court. That, in our opinion, is impermissible and cannot be countenanced,” the Supreme Court observed on Thursday.

The court said the High Court had no power to add unrelated third parties in a plea for bail.

When the State counsel had on an earlier occasion tried to justify that the High Court had been looking at the larger picture of economic offences, the top court refused to accept the line of argument, saying that expanding the scope of a strictly limited plea for anticipatory bail and calling for the personal appearance of unnecessary third parties would only set a bad precedent.

The court's examination of a bail plea should be confined to the facts of the particular case and not wander into other arenas, the Supreme Court said.

The High Court’s orders were passed in a plea for anticipatory bail filed by three persons apprehending arrest in cheating and forgery cases involving ₹3 crore.

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