New Delhi: In a significant judgment on Wednesday, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has said that there can’t be any time limit to anticipatory bail as the rights which are cherished “deeply” by citizens are “fundamental”, not the “restrictions”.

The freedom movement has shown how the likelihood of arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and the lack of safeguards played an important role in rallying the people to demand independence, the order said. Anticipatory bail can be applied for prior to the arrest while a regular bail can be granted after a formal arrest. There were contradictory orders regarding the lifetime of anticipatory bail for which the five-judge bench was set up.

The five-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S Ravindra Bhat laid down certain propositions regarding anticipatory bail.

1) The application seeking anticipatory bail should contain essential facts – essential for evaluation and for propounding conditions;

2) Nothing limits courts to limit the anticipatory bail regardless of the stage of the trial;

3) Nature of crime etc. extremely relevant and dependent on circumstances;

4) Whether to grant or not are a matter of circumstances and discretion;

5) Order of Anticipatory should not be used as a blanket for the accused, does not limit the investigation.

So in simpler words, an anticipatory bail application could be moved even before an FIR is filed, and its life does not end generally when the accused is summoned by a court or after the charges are framed. The life of anticipatory bail can continue until the end of the trial.