Supreme Court held "Liberty is so precious, but we must give a sense of responsibility to High Courts", expressing its concern regarding the rising trend among High Courts across the country to routinely grant interim relief by way of a stay on any coercive action pending a writ petition or a plea under section 482, CrPC for quashing of criminal proceedings.
"In a large number of matters, we see that courts are saying 'Issue notice. No coercive action', 'Issue notice. No coercive action' under 482!", remarked Justice Shah on Tuesday.
The bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud, M. R. Shah and Sanjiv Khanna was considering an SLP arising out of a September, 2020 order of the Bombay High Court on a writ petition. While granting time for the filing of a reply affidavit with additional documents, the High Court had in the interim directed that no coercive measures be adopted against the present respondents (director of a real estate development company and his business partners) in respect of the FIR registered by the present petitioner (Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt Ltd) with the Economic Offences Wing for alleged offences under Sections 406, 420, 465, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC.
On October 12 last year, a bench headed by Justice Chandrachud had issued notice on the SLP, and granted an ad-interim stay on the aforesaid direction of the High Court.
"Liberty is so precious. We do not want to denude the courts of the power. Exceptional situations may arise. But we must give a sense of responsibility to the High Courts", expressed Justice Chandrachud.
"Such orders cannot be passed routinely", added Justice Shah.
The bench contemplated laying down principles in this behalf.