M.N. Shukla, J.
1. Admit. Issue notice.
The respondents do not propose to file counter-affidavit in this writ petition. The matter is of general importance, hence we proceed, with the consent of the parties, to decide the case finally.
2. Shri Ramesh Chandra Kapil, a practising Advocate at Allahabad, has chosen to assume the role of petitioner as he feels greatly aggrieved by the rigour of the High Court Rule framed by this Court under Article 225 of the Constitution. The provision under challenge in this case is one relating to applications for bail presented in the High Court. The relevant rule is Rule 18 of Chap. XVIII of the Rules of Court. It reads as under:
18. Application for bail (1) No application for bail shall be entertained unless accompanied by a copy of judgment or order appealed against or, sought to be revised and a copy of order passed by the Sessions Judge on the bail application for the applicant and unless the accused has surrendered except where he has been released on bail after conviction under Section 389(3) of the Criminal P.C. 1973.
Explanation:-The copy of the order refusing bail passed by the Sessions Judge shall either be a certified copy or the copy furnished by the Sessions Judge free of charge to the accused.
(2) Every application for bail in a case which is under investigation or which is pending in a lower court shall state whether application for bail had or had not been previously made before the Magistrate and the Sessions Judge concerned and the results of such application, if any.
(3) Save in exceptional circumstances:
(a) No order granting bail shall be made on an application unless notice thereof has been given to the Government Advocate and not less than ten days have elapsed between the giving of such notice and the hearing of such application.
(b) If the application for bail has not been moved within two days after the expiry of the aforesaid period of ten days, the applicant or his counsel shall give two days previous notice to the government advocate as to the exact date on which such application is intended to be moved.
(c) Where the, prayer for bail is contained in a petition of appeal or application for revision notice thereof may be given to the Government Advocate the same day prior to the hearing of such petition or application and the fact of such previous notice having been given, shall be endorsed on such petition or application. Along with such notice a certified copy or one attested to be true by the counsel, of judgment appealed from or sought to be revised shall also be given to the Government Advocate.
3. It is Sub-rule (3)(a) which is the main target of attack. It provides that no order granting bail shall be made unless notice thereof has been given to the Government Advocate and not less than ten days have elapsed between the giving of such notice and hearing of such application. In substance, it defers a decision in the matter of granting bail for a period of ten days from the date of giving notice to the Government Advocate. It was vehemently urged that the judicial processes and the instrumentality of law for giving redress to a person deprived of his personal liberty are set in abeyance by the mandatory requirement of this Rule. This is said to be repugnant to the principle of criminal jurisprudence that a person deprived of his liberty must be allowed to avail of his full legal remedy without any obstruction and there should be no lapse of time between the institution of judicial proceedings and the relief which may be available after hearing the matter in controversy. It was submitted that this rule by creating an impediment of ten days' notice prejudicially affects the right of every accused person who applies for bail. It is also pointed out that it is this cardinal principle of speedy and uninterrupted justice, which is also enshrined in the various provisions of the Cri.P.C. which enjoins a person deprived of his liberty being produced before an appropriate court in order to enable him to get rid of the custody of the detaining authority without any let or hindrance. In order to appreciate the point, our attention was drawn to the analogous rule which existed prior to the one challeged before us, which was introduced vide notification No. 659/VIII-C-88 dt. 21.11.1980, published in U.P. gazette, Part II, dt. 7.2.81 P. 7. Sub-rule (3) of Rule 18 which existed prior to 1980 amendment was as follows:
18. (3) Save in exceptional circumstances no order for bail shall be made on an application unless notice thereof has been given to the Government Advocate and at least twenty two hours have elapsed between the giving of such notice and the hearing of such application. Where the prayer for bail is contained in the petition of appeal or the application for revision such petition or application shall indicate that such previous notice has been given to the government advocate.
4. A comparison of the amended and unamended provisions would immediately show that the time gap for making an application for bail and its final hearing after notice to the Government Advocate which was only 22 hours under the old Rule, has been enlarged to ten days under the amended rule.
5. The principal objection raised by the petitioner with regard to the validity of the amended rule is that this is inconsistent with the provisions of the Cri.P.C. and is, therefore, ultra vires. Section 439 of the Cri.P.C. provides for the special powers of the High Court or the Court of Session regarding bail. It is in the following terms:
(2) High Court or Court of Session may direct-
(a) that any person accused of an offence and in custody be released on bail, and if the offence is of the nature specified in Sub-section (3) of Section 437, may impose any condition which it considers necessary for the purposes mentioned in that sub-section;
(b) that any condition imposed by a Magistrate when releasing any person on bail be set aside or modified;
Provided that the High Court or the Court of Session shall, before granting bail to a person who is accused of an offence which is triable exclusively by the Court of Session or which though not so triable, is punishable with imprisonment for life, give notice of the application for bail to the Public Prosecutor unless it is, for reasons to be recorded in writing, of opinion that it is not practicable to give such notice.
(2) A High Court or Court of Session may direct that any person who has been released on bail under this Chapter be arrested and commit him to custody.
The requirement of giving notice of bail application to the Public Prosecutor is embodied in the proviso to Section 439 Cr.P.C. The Courts of law have to administer justice amongst various sections of the society with all possible precaution and impartiality and in a manner which may exclude chances of prejudice being caused to any one of the contending parties. While it is the object of every organised government to see that innocent persons are not punished, it is equally the sacred duty of such agencies to guarantee that full investigation of crime be made and the prosecuting agency should adopt such procedure as may enable them to glean all the relevant material and place it before the courts of law. With the colossal dimensions of the present State with its spiralling crimes and its limited prosecuting agency entrusted with the task of assisting the courts of law by procuring such material as might make correct adjudication possible, it is imperative that adequate opportunity must be granted to the prosecuting authority also to apprise themselves of the pith and substance of the case. With full awareness of all the existing circumstances, environment and the magnitude of the task, it cannot be gainsaid that sufficient notice must be given to the prosecuting agency. Hence, a mere look at the amended and unamended provisions would not be of any value in coming to a conclusion about the validity of the impugned Rule. It has to be seen whether in the prevailing circumstances of the day, the amended provision in the rules smacks of arbitrariness (or) otherwise adversely affects the protection guaranteed to an accused person under the law. Therefore, so far as the general argument of arbitrariness is concerned, we are not convinced that the Rule is apparently bad. If an unreasonably long time of notice to the prosecuting agency had been introduced by the amended rule, the Rule would have to be struck down. But ten days notice per se as provided in the impuguned Rule does not suffer from any such vice as may render it ultra vires. Thus, prima facie, the Rule cannot be said to be arbitrary or oppressive.
6. The petitioner, however, strenuously urged that the period of notice to the Government Advocate is a substantive matter which could be provided for only by a statute and could not be delegated to the rule-making power of the High Court. He contended that the proviso to Section 439 Cr.P.C. was silent as the period of notice to be given to the Public Prosecutor, in case a petition for bail was presented. Consequently, the Rule made by the High Court fixing a period of ten days was arbitrary. It was also emphasised that since under the unamended Rule 22 hours notice was considered sufficient, there was no justification for enlarging it subsequently and substituting a period of ten days. We have already referred to the various factors which, in our opinion, justify enlargement of notice. It, however, remains to be seen as to whether the Rule is inconsistent with any statutory provision. The basic provision relating to the matter of grant of bails is one relating to the opportunity to be afforded to the Government Advocate or Public Prosecutor before such application is disposed of; the question of prescribing the period of such notice is ancillary to it. Thus, the main question is whether it is proper, expedient and legal to grant such opportunity to the State Government or, without any such opportunity also, on a unilateral submission on behalf of the petitioner alone, bail may be granted. On this primary and crucial question, the voice of the legislature is unambiguous. It has been clearly provided under the provisions of Section 439 Cr.P.C. that it would be mandatory for the Court to give notice of such application to the Public Prosecutor, unless for reasons to be recorded in writing, it is not practicable to give such notice. Thus, the necessity of giving notice to the Government Advocate or Public Prosecutor is lifted beyond the realm of controversy. The fixing of the period of such notice is a matter of detail and procedure. This may well be done within the rule making power, subject always to the conditions that the rule so made does not become inconsistent with the statutory provisions. Since the proviso to Section 439 Cr.P.C. contains a provision for notice to the Public Prosecutor and does not itself fix the period of such notice, the procedural part thereof with regard to its minutiae can be certainly provided by exercise of the rule-making power. Article 225 of the Constitution confers such power upon the High Court for making rules in relation to the administration of justice. It is well settled that the power may be delegated to any authority for regulating the procedure so long as it does not come into conflict with the policy declared by the statute itself. It is this principle of delegated legislation which is applied in achieving this object. Commenting upon this well known legal practice, the Supreme Court is Arnold Rodricks v. State of Maharashtra : 3SCR885 observed (At p. 1789):
Delegated legislation is a well known modern device. In view of the complexities of modern life it is not possible for the legislature to find time to make all the detailed rules which are necessary to carry out the purposes of an enactment; so it delegates to an appropriate executive authority the power to make rules. But before doing so, the legislature itself enacts the law under which the power is delegated and lays down the essential matters which required to be included in the Act itself. Having thus provided for all such essential matters in the enactment itself the legislature leaves it to a subordinate authority, which may be some appropriate executive authority, to frame detailed rules to carry out the purposes of the Act. These rules are ancillary and subserve the purposes of the enactment. They cannot go against the provisions of the enactment and cannot in any manner make any change in the provisions of the enactment and are merely for the purpose of carrying out the essential policy which the legislature has Lald down in the enactment itself. These rules are called delegated legislation and it is important to remember that this delegated legislation cannot in any way change the provisions of the enactment itself, and must only be resorted to for carryiung out the purposes of the legislation itself. Such being the nature of delegated legislation we have to see whether the impugned provisions of Section 3 are in accord with these principles. If they are not and if the legislature has conferred powers on the State Government beyond this, such conferment of power cannot be delegated legislation and is really an abdication of its power by the legislature and transfer of it to the executive.
7. Likewise, it was emphasised in Khambhalia Municipality v. State of Gujarat : 2SCR631 :
An essential legislative function which consists in the determination of a legislative policy and its formulation as a binding rule of conduct cannot be delegated to an administrative agency. But once the legislative policy is Lald down the legislature may confer discretion on an administrative agency as to the execution of the policy and leave it to the agency to work out the details within the frame work of the policy.
In Sant Ram v. State of Rajasthan : (1968)IILLJ830SC it was held (At p. 1914):
Although the Government could not supersede the statutory rules by administrative instructions, yet if rules framed under Article 309 were silent on any particular point the Government can fill up the gaps and supplement the rules and issue instructions not inconsistent with the rules already framed.
8. Thus, tested on the touchstone of excessive delegation, the amended Sub-rule (3) of Rule 18 of Chapter XVIII of the Rules of Court does not militate against the priviso to Section 439 Cr.P.C. and, consequently, is free from the vice of excesive delegation.
9. There is, however, yet another. ground on which the validity of the High Court rule must be upheld. The impugned rule does not fetter the jurisdiction of the Court to grant bail on an application earlier than on expiry of ten days between the giving of notice of such application and the hearing thereof. The matter is left v to the discretion of the Court and its jurisdiction is, therefore, not curtailed. The utility of the Rules framed by the High Court is that they help the Court in regulating its procedure; that they do not impair or abridge the judicial power or jurisdiction of the Court to regulate its own procedure. Clause 3 of Sub-rule (2) of Rule 18 of Chap. XVII of the Rules of Court itself expressly retains this power of the Court by execluding or relaxing the provision of ten days notice introducing the words 'save in exceptional circumstances'. Thus, on the very language of the Rule, the jurisdiction of the Court is not cut down in the slightest degree. Whenever, the Court is satisfied, it may hear a bail application prior to the expiry of ten days and the rule in this regard may be waived. It has been rightly left in the discretion of the court to adopt a proper procedure having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case before it. The general utility of a Rule framed by the High Court is to remove or avoid certain evils and not to curtail the power of the Court lest it may become difficult for the counsel on behalf of the State to collect all the necessary material and there may be miscarriage of justice if a bail application is disposed of with undue haste. Substantial rule of procedure is enshrined in Rule 18. But it did not entrench on the jurisdiction or the powers of the Court as such. Article 225 of the Constitution under which Rules are framed speaks of 'including any power to make Rule of Court and to regulate the sitting of the Court', as was observed in Paras Nath Tiwari v. Bhaiya Lal 1970 All LJ 328 (DB).
The rules only regulate the sittings of the Court. They are not the source from which the Judges of this Court derive jurisdiction to decide cases.
They are framed for convenience and proper working of the Court and do not affect the inherent jurisdiction of the Bench receiving a case, to pass such orders as it considers just and proper.
Thus, the High Court being a Court of record is invested with inherent jurisdiction to dispose of the cases coming before it and prescribe an appropriate procedure for that purpose. To quote again from Paras Nath Tiwari's case (supra):
Once the case is before a Bench, it has full jurisdiction to decide it and is not only fully seized of it but has complete dominion over it to fix dates and decide it in accordance with its views and the law on the subject.
We are of the opinion that the regulation of the sittings of the Judges of the Court is not a judicial function that the Chief Justice performs. It is only an administrative power discharged to facilitate the performance of the judicial functions of the Court by the various Judges who constitute it.
In fact, this is the substance of the well known legal Practice Cursus Curlae Est Lex Curlae. Every Court is the guardian of its own records and master of its own practice.
10. Thus, the jurisdiction of this Court to entertain and dispose of the bail application is not inhibited either by the language of Rule 18 of Chapter XVIII of the Rules of Court or by inherent power which vests in a Court of Record such as the High Court to regulate its own procedure for dealing with the matters of which it is seized.
11. Thus, we do not find any infirmity in the impugned Rule and the present writ petition has no merit. It is accordingly dismissed.