If judicial officials make mistakes, the judiciary’s credibility would suffer: Kerala High Court

If judicial officials make mistakes, the judiciary’s credibility would suffer is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case of Nahif Ali v. Station House Office through the Bench of Justice Sudheendra Kumar.


The petitioner was detained on January 19, 2016, and when he appeared before the Judicial Magistrate the following day, he submitted the Section 438 order issued by this Bench of the High Court. However, the magistrate disregarded this and committed the petitioner to judicial detention.

The Court requested explanations from the Magistrate after determining that the petitioner had been remanded and that his bail application had been denied.  The Court considered the explanations they were provided with to be insufficient.The Magistrate apologized after more complaints from this Court.


The Court noted that the judicial system cannot function without judicial discipline. If judicial officials make mistakes, the judiciary’s credibility would suffer. The judicial officers must be mindful of the value of personal freedom in relation to social interests and exercise caution and diligence in carrying out their duties.

The Court cited the cases of Jose George v. State of Kerala, 2006, where it was determined that the subject was not to be remanded to judicial custody and that the grant of pre-arrest bail made that clear; and Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab, 1980, where it was held that the general rule would be to not limit the operation of an order under Section 438 CrPC and allow for its continuation to trial.

Additionally, it was determined in Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, 2011that anticipatory bail must be available until the conclusion of the trial unless the court decides to revoke it due to new information, circumstances, or on the “ground of abuse of indulgence by the accused.” In the absence of such a situation, the bail application was approved.

In this case, when the petitioner was granted pre-arrest bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Judicial Magistrate remanded him to judicial custody in violation of the court’s orders. The Kerala High Court held that once pre-arrest bail was granted, it would remain in effect until the court or a higher court either cancelled the order, on the request of the Public Prosecutor, or on the discovery of new evidence or circumstance.

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