New Delhi: The Supreme Court today wondered whether a magisterial court was “above” it, after it came to know that a lower court in Mumbai has refused to release an accused on bail despite the top court granting him the relief. The peculiar situation arose before a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Mohan M Shantanagoudar when it was informed by the counsel for the accused that the trial court had refused to grant him the relief on the ground that the bail amount was not mentioned in the apex court’s May 17 order. “We (apex court) have granted him (accused) bail. Is the ACMM (Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate) above us? Is the ACMM an appellate court of the Supreme Court? We have passed the bail order and the magistrate is saying the Supreme Court does not know how to grant bail,” the bench observed.
It said the ground noted in the ACMM’s May 21 order that bail amount was not mentioned in the top court’s order was “not justified”. “The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate…should have realised that once an order is passed by the Supreme Court directing release of the petitioner on bail and there is no mention about the bail amount, it is incumbent on the trial court to fix the amount for the bail bond,” the court said. “The order dated May 21, 2018 of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate …. Refusing to release the petitioner on bail on the ground that bail amount has not been mentioned in our order, is not justified,” it noted in its order.
The bench also said that the ACMM was “well advised” to proceed to release the man on bail to his satisfaction by fixing the amount for bail bonds. On May 17, an apex court bench headed by Justice R F Nariman had ordered that the accused be enlarged on bail, subject to his cooperating with the investigation in the cases lodged against him. Some FIRs were lodged for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating against the accused and others for purportedly suppressing and misrepresenting certain material facts while availing credit facilities from a consortium of banks.