Showing posts with label bail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bail. Show all posts

31 December 2020

Relatives of the Muslim husband cannot be accused of the offence of pronouncement of triple talaq; the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man

Sec. 7(c) of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019 does not impose an absolute bar on granting regular or anticipatory bail



    Under Section 3, a pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife has been rendered void and illegal. Under Section 4, a Muslim husband who pronounces talaq upon his wife, as referred to in Section 3, is punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years. The prohibition in Sections 3 and 4 is evidently one which operates in relation to a Muslim husband alone. This is supported by the Statement of Objects and Reasons accompanying the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019, when it was introduced in the Parliament. The reasons for the introduction of the bill specifically stated that the bill was to give effect to the ruling of this court in Shayara Bano v. Union of India [(2017) 9 SCC 1], and to „liberate‟ Muslim women from the customary practice of talaq-e-biddat (divorce by triple talaq) by Muslim men. It is in this context that the provisions of Section 7 would have to be interpreted. Section 7 provides as follows:
“7. Offences to be cognizable, compoundable, etc: Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, -
(a) an offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable, if information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage;
(b) an offence punishable under this Act shall be compoundable, at the instance of the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced with the permission of the Magistrate, on such terms and conditions as he may determine;
(c) no person accused of an offence punishable under this Act shall be released on bail unless the Magistrate, on an application filed by the accused and after hearing the married Muslim woman upon whom talaq is pronounced, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail to such person."

    The provisions of Section 7(c) apply to the Muslim husband. The offence which is created by Section 3 is on the pronouncement of a talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife. Section 3 renders the pronouncement of talaq void and illegal. Section 4 makes the Act of the Muslim husband punishable with imprisonment. Thus, on a preliminary analysis,
Relatives of the Muslim husband cannot be accused of the offence of pronouncement of triple talaq the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man
it is clear that the appellant as the mother-in-law of the second respondent cannot be accused of the offence of pronouncement of triple talaq under the Act as the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man.[Para No.7]

27 December 2020

filing of a first information report is not a condition precedent to the exercise of the power under Section 438 of Cr.P.C.

(i) Grant of an order of unconditional anticipatory bail would be “plainly contrary to the very terms of Section 438.” Even though the terms of Section 438(1) confer discretion, Section 438(2) “confers on the court the power to include such conditions in the direction as it may think fit in the light of the facts of the particular case, including the conditions mentioned in clauses (i) to (iv) of that sub-section.”

(ii) Grant of an order under Section 438(1) does not per se hamper investigation of an offence; Section 438(1)(i) and (ii) enjoin that an accused/applicant should co-operate with investigation. Sibbia (supra) also stated that courts can fashion appropriate conditions governing bail, as well. One condition can be that if the police make out a case of likely recovery of objects or discovery of facts under Section 27 (of the Evidence Act, 1872), the accused may be taken into custody. Given that there is no formal method prescribed by Section 46 of the Code if recovery is made during a statement (to the police) and pursuant to the accused volunteering the fact, it would be a case of recovery during “deemed arrest” (Para 19 of Sibbia).

(iii) The accused is not obliged to make out a special case for grant of anticipatory bail; reading an otherwise wide power would fetter the court’s discretion. Whenever an application (for relief under Section 438) is moved, discretion has to be always exercised judiciously, and with caution, having regard to the facts of every case. (Para 21, Sibbia).

(iv) While the power of granting anticipatory bail is not ordinary, at the same time, its use is not confined to exceptional cases (Para 22, Sibbia).

(v) It is not justified to require courts to only grant anticipatory bail in special cases made out by accused, since the power is extraordinary, or that several considerations – spelt out in Section 437- or other considerations, are to be kept in mind. (Para 24-25, Sibbia).

(vi) Overgenerous introduction (or reading into) of constraints on the power to grant anticipatory bail would render it Constitutionally vulnerable. Since fair procedure is part of Article 21, the court should not throw the provision (i.e. Section 438) open to challenge “by reading words in it which are not to be found therein.” (Para 26).

(vii) There is no “inexorable rule” that anticipatory bail cannot be granted unless the applicant is the target of mala fides. There are several relevant considerations to be factored in, by the court, while considering whether to grant or refuse anticipatory bail. Nature and seriousness of the proposed charges, the context of the events likely to lead to the making of the charges, a reasonable possibility of the accused’s presence not being secured during trial; a reasonable apprehension that the witnesses might be tampered with, and “the larger interests of the public or the state” are some of the considerations. A person seeking relief (of anticipatory bail) continues to be a man presumed to be innocent. (Para 31, Sibbia).

(viii) There can be no presumption that any class of accused- i.e. those accused of particular crimes, or those belonging to the poorer sections, are likely to abscond. (Para 32, Sibbia).

(ix) Courts should exercise their discretion while considering applications for anticipatory bail (as they do in the case of bail). It would be unwise to divest or limit their discretion by prescribing “inflexible rules of general application.”. (Para 33, Sibbia).

(x) The apprehension of an applicant, who seeks anticipatory bail (about his imminent or possible arrest) should be based on reasonable grounds, and rooted on objective facts or materials, capable of examination and evaluation, by the court, and not based on vague un-spelt apprehensions. (Para 35, Sibbia).

(xi) The grounds for seeking anticipatory bail should be examined by the High Court or Court of Session, which should not leave the question for decision by the concerned Magistrate. (Para 36, Sibbia).

filing of a first information report is not a condition precedent to the exercise of the power under Section 438

(xii) Filing of FIR is not a condition precedent for exercising power under Section 438; it can be done on a showing of reasonable belief of imminent arrest (of the applicant). (Para 37, Sibbia).

(xiii) Anticipatory bail can be granted even after filing of an FIR- as long as the applicant is not arrested. However, after arrest, an application for anticipatory bail is not maintainable. (Para 38-39, Sibbia).

17 November 2020

Magistrate; after taking cognizance, cannot issue, at the first instance, non bailable arrest warrant against accused who has obtained anticipatory bail

Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the petitioners were granted anticipatory bail by this Court in the FIR registered against them bearing No.3/2003 at Police Station Khetri, District Jhunjhunu under Section(s) 418, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406 & 120-B IPC. The police submitted a Final Report whereafter protest petition was filed, which was dismissed.
    Against the dismissal order of the protest petition, a revision petition was filed, which was allowed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Khetri and the matter was remanded back to the Court to pass a fresh order on 18.7.2018, whereafter the learned Magistrate has taken cognizance on 11.1.2019 and summoned the petitioners through arrest warrants. The said order of remand was challenged by the petitioners before the High Court and the High Court had stayed the said proceedings. Taking into consideration the order of taking cognizance, the petition was declared infructuous.[Para No.1]

    Learned Magistrate thereafter again issued arrest warrants.[Para No.2]
......

    For the aforesaid backdrop, this Court notices that it is a case where on remand from the District Judge, the Court has taken cognizance of the offences relating to allegations under Sections 418, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406 & 120-B IPC. The High Court vide its order dated 29.4.2003 had granted anticipatory bail to the petitioners with the condition that in the event of arresting the petitioners, they shall be released on bail.
    
    Keeping in view the conditions laid down in Sushila Agarwal & Others (supra), this Court is of the firm view that
Magistrate; after taking cognizance, cannot issue, at the first instance, non bailable arrest warrants against accused who has obtained anticipatory bail
the action of the learned Magistrate from the date, it has taken cognizance and upto passing of the impugned order dated 3.9.2020 has acted in clear violation of the orders passed by the High Court after having granted anticipatory bail. There was no occasion for the learned Magistrate to have issued the arrest warrants and such course or power was not available with it in spite of having been given to it.

27 October 2020

Bail can not be denied to chargesheeted accused on the ground of abscondence of other accused

It is pertinent to note that the other ground raised by the prosecution is that the co­accused, who is relative of the present applicant, is absconding and, therefore, present petitioner may not be enlarged on bail.
Bail can not be denied to chargesheeted accused on the ground of abscondence of other accused
Now, it is well settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that even for securing presence or for getting whereabouts of the co­accused, no police custody remand could be granted. The same principle will apply in the case where bail is sought by the accused and the charge sheet is already filed against him/her. If there is laxity or inability of the prosecution to arrest the co­accused, on that ground the other accused against whom investigation is over and charge sheet is filed cannot be denied the right of getting bail in a given case.[Para No.7]

17 October 2020

Bail should be granted or refused based on the probability of attendance of the party to take his trial

By now it is well settled that gravity alone cannot be a decisive ground to deny bail, rather competing factors are required to be balanced by the court while exercising its discretion. It has been repeatedly held by the Hon'ble Apex Court that object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative. The Hon'ble Apex Court in Sanjay Chandra versus Central Bureau of Investigation (2012)1 Supreme Court Cases 49; has been held as under:­ "The object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment, unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon. The Courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction, and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and duly found guilty. Detention in custody pending completion of trial could be a cause of great hardship. From time to time, necessity demands that some unconvicted persons should be held in custody pending trial to secure their attendance at the trial but in such cases, "necessity" is the operative test. In India , it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which, he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances. Apart from the question of prevention being the object of refusal of bail, one must not lose sight of the fact that any imprisonment before conviction has a substantial punitive content and it would be improper for any court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval of former conduct whether the accused has been convicted for it or not or to refuse bail to an unconvicted person for the propose of giving him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson."[Para No.5]

Bail should granted or refused based on the probability of attendance of the party to take his trial

    Needless to say object of the bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in the trial and the proper test to be applied in the solution of the question whether bail should be granted or refused is whether it is probable that the party will appear to take his trial. Otherwise also, normal rule is of bail and not jail. Apart from above, Court has to keep in mind nature of accusations, nature of evidence in support thereof, severity of the punishment, which conviction will entail, character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar to the accused involved in that crime.[Para No.6]

14 October 2020

Rejection of a bail application by Sessions Court does not operate as a bar for the High Court in entertaining a similar application under Section 439 Cr. P. C.

In the instant case, learned Principal Sessions Judge, Samba, has rejected the bail petition of both the petitioners. The question that arises for consideration is whether or not successive bail applications will lie before this Court. The law on this issue is very clear that if an earlier application was rejected by an inferior court, the superior court can always entertain the successive bail application. In this behalf, it will be profitable to quote the following observations of the Supreme Court in the case titled Gurcharan Singh & Ors vs State (Delhi Administration), AIR 1978 SC 179:

"It is significant to note that under Section 397, Cr.P.C of the new Code while the High Court and the Sessions Judge have the concurrent powers of revision, it is expressly provided under sub-section (3) of that section that when an application under that section has been made by any person to the High Court or to the Sessions Judge, no further application by the same person shall be entertained by the other of them. This is the position explicitly made clear under the new Code with regard to revision when the authorities have concurrent powers. Similar was the position under Section 435(4), Cr.P.C of the old Code with regard to concurrent revision powers of the Sessions Judge and the District Magistrate. Although, under Section 435(1) Cr.P.C of the old Code the High Court, a Sessions Judge or a District Magistrate had concurrent powers of revision, the High Court's jurisdiction in revision was left untouched. There is no provision in the new Code excluding the jurisdiction of the High Court in dealing with an application under Section 439(2), Cr.P.C to cancel bail after the Sessions Judge had been moved and an order had been passed by him granting bail. The High Court has undoubtedly jurisdiction to entertain the application under Section 439(2), Cr.P.C for cancellation of bail notwithstanding that the Sessions Judge had earlier admitted the appellants to bail. There is, therefore, no force in the submission of Mr Mukherjee to the contrary."[Para No.5]


    Relying upon the aforesaid observations of the Supreme Court, the High Court of Bombay in the case titled Devi Das Raghu Nath Naik v. State, (Crimes Volume 3 1987 363), has observed as under:
Rejection of a bail application by Sessions Court does not operate as a bar for the High Court in entertaining a similar application under Section 439 Cr. P.

"The above view of the learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court appears to me to be correct. In fact, it is now well-settled that there is no bar whatsoever for a party to approach either the High Court or the Sessions Court with an application for an ordinary bail made under Section 439 Cr.P.C. The power given by Section 439 to the High Court or to the Sessions Court is an independent power and thus, when the High Court acts in the exercise of such power it does not exercise any revisional jurisdiction, but its original special jurisdiction to grant bail. This being so, it becomes obvious that although under section 439 Cr.P.C. concurrent jurisdiction is given to the High Court and Sessions Court, the fact, that the Sessions Court has refused a bail under Section 439 does not operate as a bar for the High Court entertaining a similar application under Section 439 on the same facts and for the same offence. However, if the choice was made by the party to move first the High Court and the High Court has dismissed the application, then the decorum and the hierarchy of the Courts require that if the Sessions Court is moved with a similar application on the same fact, the said application be dismissed. This can be inferred also from the decision of the Supreme Court in Gurcharan Singh's case (above)."[Para No.6]

29 September 2020

Accused can be released on interim bail on the ground of snail speed of the trial

Successive application for bail is permissible under substantial change of circumstances which has direct impact on the earlier decision and not merely cosmetic changes


    This bail application of the petitioner being the sixth one before this Court, it is to be kept in mind the settled principle of law that successive application for grant of bail to an accused is permissible under the changed circumstances which must be substantial one and which has got a direct impact on the earlier decision and not merely cosmetic changes which are of little or no consequence inasmuch as without the change in the circumstances, the subsequent bail application would be deemed to be seeking review of the earlier rejection order which is not permissible under criminal law. Of Course, the principle of res judicata is not applicable while considering the successive bail application but the issues and grounds which have been canvassed earlier would not be ordinarily permitted to be re- agitated. If some important aspects of the case could not be placed earlier inadvertently and the Court feels that such aspects have a direct bearing on the result of the case, in the interest of justice, the Court can consider the same in the subsequent application.[Para No.5]

    ......... While rejecting the last bail application of the petitioner in BLAPL No.1053 of 2019, it has already been held that the detention of the petitioner has virtually become pre-trial punishment to him as the trial has not progressed much in spite of the earlier direction of this Court due to lack of sincere effort of the prosecution and moreover, the petitioner has not contributed to the delay. Though direction was given to the learned trial Court to expedite the trial keeping in view the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. and to take effective step to ensure the attendance of witnesses but it seems that even after the said order was received by the learned trial Court, the learned trial Court has neither followed the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. nor kept in view the observation made by this Court while disposing of the earlier bail application. No special reason has been assigned by the learned trial Court in adjoining the case to long dates. Not a single witness has been examined after 04.01.2020 and the status report makes it clear how difficult it has become to proceed with the trial of the case at present.

    Mr. Panigrahi, leanred Senior Advocate placed the observation made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Ranjan Dwibedi -Vrs.- C.B.I. reported in A.I.R. 2012 S.C. 3217, wherein it is held as follows:-
"19.....However, unintentional and unavoidable delays or administrative factors over which prosecution has no control, such as, over- crowded court dockets, absence of the presiding officers, strike by the lawyers, delay by the superior forum in notifying the designated Judge, (in the present case only), the matter pending before the other forums, including High Courts and Supreme Courts and adjournment of the criminal trial at the instance of the accused, may be a good cause for the failure to complete the trial within a reasonable time. This is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Such delay or delays cannot be violative of accused's right to a speedy trial and needs to be excluded while deciding whether there is unreasonable and unexplained delay..."

    Keeping in view the observation made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid case, if the order sheet of the learned trial Court is perused from 05.09.2019 onwards till the end of December 2019, it cannot be said that the delay which was caused was unavoidable or on account of any administrative factors over which the prosecution has no control. During the said period, the trial court was functioning normally and no adjournment was sought for from the side of the petitioner and therefore, the delay which has been caused by the trial Court even after the receipt of the order this Court on 22.08.2019 passed in BLAPL No.1053 of 2019, in my humble view, is unreasonable and unexplained. Of course after the last two witnesses i.e. P.W.24 and 25 were examined on 4.01.2020, the Presiding Officer was transferred on 10.01.2020 and the new Presiding Officer joined on 23.03.2020 and then the lock-down was imposed in the State since 23.03.2020 which was extended from time to time and during the said period, there was restricted functioning of the Subordinate Courts in the State as per the direction of this Court and no summons were issued to witnesses during the said period and now the letter dated 10.09.2020 of the learned trial Court makes it clear that the normal functioning of the Court has not been restored. Since the learned trial Judge has made it clear in the said letter that he shall make all endeavor to resume the trial by procuring the attendance of the witnesses in the Court, it is expected that the observation made by this Court while disposing of BLAPL No.1053 of 2019 to expedite the trial keeping in view the provision under section 309 of Cr.P.C. and to take effective step to ensure the attendance of the witnesses shall also be kept in mind. All possible steps shall be taken to proceed with the trial on day-to-day basis. Since the learned trial Court is also dealing with other cases, a particular time slot should be fixed on each date and the mandate of section 309 of Cr.P.C. shall be adhered to. The trial Court shall take all possible steps to stop the dilly- dallying or shilly-shallying attitude adopted either from the side of the prosecution or accused and ensure that the constitutional right of speedy trial of the accused as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is not flouted causing mockery of the trial. It seems unnecessary lengthy cross examination has been made by different set of defence counsel to the witnesses to make it a gallery show, which needs to be regulated by the learned trial Court keeping in view the provisions under sections 146, 148, 150, 151, 152 and 165 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.[Para No.7]

25 September 2020

While deciding bail application, it cannot be presumed that petitioner will flee justice or will influence the investigation/witnesses

Grant of bail cannot be thwarted merely by asserting that offence is grave.


Consequences of pre-trial detention are grave.

    In AIR 2019 SC 5272, titled P. Chidambaram v. Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI had opposed the bail plea on the grounds of:- (i) flight risk; (ii) tampering with evidence; and (iii) influencing witnesses. The first two contentions were rejected by the High Court. But bail was declined on the ground that possibility of influencing the witnesses in the ongoing investigation cannot be ruled out. Hon'ble Apex Court after considering (2001) 4 SCC 280, titled Prahlad Singh Bhati v. NCT, Delhi and another;( 2004) 7 SCC 528, titled Kalyan Chandra sarkar v.R ajesh Ranjan and another; (2005) 2 SCC 13, titled Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal v. State of Tamil Nadu and (2005) 8 SCC 21, titled State of U.P. through CBI v.Amarmani Tripathi, observed as under:-

"26. As discussed earlier, insofar as the "flight risk" and "tampering with evidence" are concerned, the High Court held in favour of the appellant by holding that the appellant is not a "flight risk" i.e. "no possibility of his abscondence". The High Court rightly held that by issuing certain directions like "surrender of passport", "issuance of look out notice", "flight risk" can be secured. So far as "tampering with evidence" is concerned, the High Court rightly held that the documents relating to the case are in the custody of the prosecuting agency, Government of India and the Court and there is no chance of the appellant tampering with evidence.

28. So far as the allegation of possibility of influencing the witnesses, the High Court referred to the arguments of the learned Solicitor General which is said to have been a part of a "sealed cover" that two material witnesses are alleged to have been approached not to disclose any information regarding the appellant and his son and the High Court observed that the possibility of influencing the witnesses by the appellant cannot be ruled out. The relevant portion of the impugned judgment of the High Court in para (72) reads as under:

"72. As argued by learned Solicitor General, (which is part of 'Sealed Cover', two material witnesses (accused) have been approached for not to disclose any information regarding the petitioner and his son (co-accused). This court cannot dispute the fact that petitioner has been a strong Finance Minister and Home Minister and presently, Member of Indian Parliament. He is respectable member of the Bar Association of Supreme Court of India. He has long standing in BAR as a Senior Advocate. He has deep root in the Indian Society and may be some connection in abroad. But, the fact that he will not influence the witnesses directly or indirectly, cannot be ruled out in view of above facts. Moreover, the investigation is at advance stage, therefore, this Court is not inclined to grant bail."

29. FIR was registered by the CBI on 15.05.2017. The appellant was granted interim protection on 31.05.2018 till 20.08.2019. Till the date, there has been no allegation regarding influencing of any witness by the appellant or his men directly or indirectly. In the number of remand applications, there was no whisper that any material witness has been approached not to disclose information about the appellant and his son. It appears that only at the time of opposing the bail and in the counter affidavit filed by the CBI before the High Court, the averments were made that "....the appellant is trying to influence the witnesses and if enlarged on bail, would further pressurize the witnesses....". CBI has no direct evidence against the appellant regarding the allegation of appellant directly or indirectly influencing the witnesses. As rightly contended by the learned Senior counsel for the appellant, no material particulars were produced before the High Court as to when and how those two material witnesses were approached. There are no details as to the form of approach of those two witnesses either SMS, email, letter or telephonic calls and the persons who have approached the material witnesses. Details are also not available as to when, where and how those witnesses were approached.

31. It is to be pointed out that the respondent - CBI has filed remand applications seeking remand of the appellant on various dates viz. 22.08.2019, 26.08.2019, 30.08.2019, 02.09.2019, 05.09.2019 and 19.09.2019 etc. In these applications, there were no allegations that the appellant was trying to influence the witnesses and that any material witnesses (accused) have been approached not to disclose information about the appellant and his son. In the absence of any contemporaneous materials, no weight could be attached to the allegation that the appellant has been influencing the witnesses by approaching the witnesses. The conclusion of the learned Single Judge "...that it cannot be ruled out that the petitioner will not influence the witnesses directly or indirectly....." is not substantiated by any materials and is only a generalised apprehension and appears to be speculative. Mere averments that the appellant approached the witnesses and the assertion that the appellant would further pressurize the witnesses, without any material basis cannot be the reason to deny regular bail to the appellant; more so, when the appellant has been in custody for nearly two months, co-operated with the investigating agency and the charge sheet is also filed.

32. The appellant is not a "flight risk" and in view of the conditions imposed, there is no possibility of his abscondence from the trial. Statement of the prosecution that the appellant has influenced the witnesses and there is likelihood of his further influencing the witnesses cannot be the ground to deny bail to the appellant particularly, when there is no such whisper in the six remand applications filed by the prosecution. The charge sheet has been filed against the appellant and other co-accused on 18.10.2019. The appellant is in custody from 21.08.2019 for about two months. The co-accused were already granted bail. The appellant is said to be aged 74 years and is also said to be suffering from age related health problems. Considering the above factors and the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the appellant is entitled to be granted bail."[Para No.5.v.6]

16 September 2020

Oral prayer of default bail u/s.167(2) can be allowed in hearing of Regular Bail Application u/s.439 of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet is not filed within prescribed period

In the present case, it was also argued by learned counsel for the State that the petitioner did not apply for ‘default bail’ on or after 4th January, 2017 till 24th January, 2017 on which date his indefeasible right got extinguished on the filing of the charge sheet. Strictly speaking this is correct since the petitioner applied for regular bail on 11th January, 2017 in the Gauhati High Court – he made no specific application for grant of ‘default bail’. However, the application for regular bail filed by the accused on 11th January, 2017 did advert to the statutory period for filing a charge sheet having expired and that perhaps no charge sheet had in fact being filed. In any event, this issue was argued by learned counsel for the petitioner in the High Court and it was considered but not accepted by the High Court. The High Court did not reject the submission on the ground of maintainability but on merits. Therefore it is not as if the petitioner did not make any application for default bail – such an application was definitely made (if not in writing) then at least orally before the High Court. In our opinion, in matters of personal liberty, we cannot and should not be too technical and must lean in favour of personal liberty. Consequently, whether the accused makes a written application for ‘default bail’ or an oral application for ‘default bail’ is of no consequence. The concerned court must deal with such an application by considering the statutory requirements namely, whether the statutory period for filing a charge sheet or challan has expired, whether the charge sheet or challan has been filed and whether the accused is prepared to and does furnish bail.[Para No.40]

Oral prayer of default bail u/s.167(2) can be allowed in hearing of Regular Bail Application u/s.439 of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet is not filed within prescribed period
    We take this view keeping in mind that in matters of personal liberty and Article 21 of the Constitution, it is not always advisable to be formalistic or technical. The history of the personal liberty jurisprudence of this Court and other constitutional courts includes petitions for a writ of habeas corpus and for other writs being entertained even on the basis of a letter addressed to the Chief Justice or the Court.[Para No.41]

    Strong words indeed. That being so we are of the clear opinion that adapting this principle, it would equally be the duty and responsibility of a court on coming to know that the accused person before it is entitled to ‘default bail’, to at least apprise him or her of the indefeasible right. A contrary view would diminish the respect for personal liberty, on which so much emphasis has been laid by this Court as is evidenced by the decisions mentioned above, and also adverted to in Nirala Yadav.[Para No.44]

    On 11th January, 2017 when the High Court dismissed the application for bail filed by the petitioner, he had an indefeasible right to the grant of ‘default bail’ since the statutory period of 60 days for filing a charge sheet had expired, no charge sheet or challan had been filed against him (it was filed only on 24 th January, 2017) and the petitioner had orally applied for ‘default bail’. Under these circumstances, the only course open to the High Court on 11 th January, 2017 was to enquire from the petitioner whether he was prepared to furnish bail and if so then to grant him ‘default bail’ on reasonable conditions. Unfortunately, this was completely overlooked by the High Court.[Para No.45]

15 September 2020

Bail cannot be withheld merely as a punishment

When accused surrendered before Sessions court, the court has powers u/s.439 of Cr.P.C. to release accused on personal bond for a short period pending the disposal of a bail application

    Bail is the antithesis of custody. In the absence of any riders or restrictions under S. 439 CrPC, any person accused of a non-bailable offence, under any penal law, including the violations under the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, can apply under section 439 CrPC, offering to surrender and simultaneously seeking interim bail. On receipt of such application, the Court is to satisfy that the applicant stands arraigned as an accused in a FIR disclosing Non-Bailable offences, if all these parameters are complete, then the Courts are under an obligation to accept surrender. Since custody is a sine qua non for considering a bail application, the Court is under an obligation to consider the prayer for interim bail after this deemed custody. All such pleas fall under the scope of S. 439 CrPC itself, and there is no need to invoke S. 482 CrPC. After that, granting or refusing interim bail is a Judicial function.[Para No.63]

Bail cannot be withheld merely as a punishment
   While granting interim bail, the rights of the victims, their families, the oppressed communities, the existence of reasonable grounds for believing that a person has committed an offence punishable with death or transportation for life, the gravity and heinous nature of the crime, the criminal history of the accused, as well as of the possibility of false implication, should always be gone into. Bail cannot be withheld merely as a punishment. One of the most significant considerations is the accused's conduct, which was not to abscond but voluntarily to surrender and submit herself to the majesty of Justice. Each case will have to be decided on the cumulative effect of all events put before the Court. However, there would be no justification in entering into a roving inquiry on either party's allegations[Para No.64]

    The Court must decide the prayer for interim bail on that day itself when it takes the accused in its custody. Such interim bail can extend till the bail application's final disposal, on the police file's production, or the status report. However, powers to grant interim bail should be exercised in a judicial and not in an arbitrary manner, and if given, then for the purpose of interim bail, personal bonds alone would suffice. If the allegations are serious, keeping in view the object of the SCSTPOA and the purpose for which this stringent provision in SCSTPOA was enacted, then indeed, such interim protection either be rejected or, if granted, can always be withdrawn on the next hearings.[Para no.66]

01 September 2020

After dismissal of petition for quashing of offence under STSC Atrocity Act, application u/s. 438 for anticipatory bail can not be considered

The appellants upon such filing of the complaint, raised an issue that the ingredients of the offences are prima facie not established and thereby initially, preferred a petition for quashing before the High Court, being Criminal Misc. Application No.6223 of 2017 and by raising multiple contentions about non-applicability of the provisions of the Act, a request was made to quash the complaint. But, after hearing both the sides at length, the said petition for quashing came to be withdrawn vide order dated 11.12.2019 and the interim order which was granted earlier on 6.3.2017 was vacated. Of-course for a period of one week, the said protection was extended.[Para No.3]

    It appears from the record that after disposal of the petition for quashing, the present appellants appeared to have rushed down for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code ('the Code' for short) before learned District and Sessions Judge, (Special Atrocity Court) at Surat, which application came up for consideration before learned 7th Additional Sessions Judge, Surat, who by order dated 24.12.2019 was pleased to dismiss the same, which has given rise to present Criminal Appeal before this court [Para No.4]

    At this stage, even if the Court may consider that after disposal of the petition for quashing, application under Section 438 of the Code can be considered, but, in view of the fact that after exhausting meritorious contentions, the petition for quashing came to be disposed of and hence very little scope is left for the Court to consider Section 438 request of the appellants, since prima facie, it cannot be said that no offence is made out and further, it is not open for the bail Court to jump to a conclusion of this elementary stage that this complaint is nothing but abuse of process of law, particularly when the quashing petition is already disposed of. Therefore, with full effect, embargo created by the Statute by way of Section 18 and 18A of the Atrocity Act, the request for anticipatory bail cannot be considered.The intention of the legislature is not to be brushed aside as has been held by the Apex Court. Large number of decisions which are pressed into service, in the considered opinion of this Court, are of no avail to the appellants, particularly when in recent pronouncement of the judgment in the case of Prathvi Raj Chauhan (supra), the Court has expressly made it clear that liberal use of power to grant pre- arrest bail would defeat the intention of the Parliament. So, the Court would not like to exercise the discretion in view of this peculiar set of circumstance and having gone through the overall material on record, the appeal is found to be merit-less since facts are altogether different.[Para No.12]

31 August 2020

Benefit of bail u/s.436A of Cr.P.C. is available only to under-trial prisoners and not to convicted who has filed an appeal

Upon the closer examination of the language used in Section 436-A of the Code, it can be seen without any difficulty or doubt that the benefit intended to be given is for a person who has, during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial under the Code of an offence, not being an offence for which capital punishment has been prescribed as one of the punishments, undergone detention for a period extending up to one half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence under that law. In such a case, the person is required to be released on his personal bond with or without sureties in normal course of circumstances. But, there could be some special circumstances justifying his further detention, for reasons to be recorded, which makes the right of the person limited and not absolute. This is evident from the first proviso which lays down that the Court may, after hearing the Public Prosecutor and for reasons to be recorded in writing, order continued detention of the person for a period longer than one half of the period mentioned in the Section or release him on bail instead of the personal bond with or without sureties. However, this limited right has the potential of becoming absolute when the condition prescribed in second proviso is fulfilled. The condition is that if the person has been detained during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial for more than maximum period of imprisonment provided for an offence under that law, the person has to be released. There is also an explanation appended to the section. It lays down that in computing the period of detention for granting bail, the period of detention passed due to delay in proceeding caused by the accused shall be excluded.[Para No.18]

Benefit of bail u/s.436A of Cr.P.C. is available only to under-trial prisoners and not to convicted who has filed an appeal
    Reading the Section as a whole, we find that the benefit under the section has been intended to be given only to the under-trial prisoners. The words "during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial" and the words "maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence" are significant. They indicate that only that person who has undergone detention for a period of one half or more of the maximum prescribed punishment during investigation, inquiry or trial under the Code who is eligible for his release on personal bond with or without sureties or bail, as the case may be. The Section does not say that a person who has been detained for one half period of imprisonment imposed would be eligible. Mentioning of "the maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence under that law" and omission of the words "punishment imposed" shows that the legislature was aware of the difference in the status of an undertrial prisoner and a convict, and with it of the consequences of detaining a person who enjoys presumption of innocence till found guilty for unduly long time. Such presumption of innocence being absent in case of a convict, the legislature refrained, and consciously, from mentioning the words "punishment imposed". This clearly shows the intention of the legislature to confer the benefit on the under- trials and not the convicts. This being the position, we do not think that rule of liberal construction would have any application here.[Para No.19]

    There are further indications about the clarity of intention of the legislature. The provision refers to "investigation, inquiry and trial under  the Code". There can be no doubt about what "investigation or inquiry" means as they have been defined in Section 2(h) and Section 2(g) of the Code respectively. The doubt, however, could be about meaning of the word "trial" as it has not been defined in the Code. It has not been defined in the General Clauses Act either. So, we have to turn to its dictionary meaning, if it helps. In Black's Law Dictionary (9th Edition page 1644) "trial" has been defined to be a formal judicial examination of evidence and determination of legal claims in a advisory proceeding. This definition is too general an explanation of "trial" and, therefore, it would not help us in understanding its meaning here. So, we must again revert to the Code, in an attempt to understand the sense in which the word "trial" has been used in Section 436-A of the Code or to be precise, to know, as to whether or not the trial of an accused goes beyond his conviction and continues, if appeal is filed under 374 of the Code, till it is finally decided, or it culminates upon acquittal or conviction for the purpose of Section 436-A of the Code.[Para No.20]

    As these provisions create a step-wise mechanism to procedurally deal with crimes and so the word, "trial" used in Section 436-A would get it's meaning in the context of this scheme of the Code, at least for the purpose which is sought to be achieved by the provision of Section 436-A. Under this scheme of the Code, "trial" of a person accused of an offence is contemplated only by a Court having original criminal jurisdiction or assuming original criminal jurisdiction after committal of a Sessions case and appeal as a remedy against the judgment of conviction and/or sentence or even acquittal has been made available before the Court exercising Appellate jurisdiction. In this sense, so far as the Section 436- A benefit is concerned, the word "trial" has to be understood in contra-distinction to an "appeal proceeding". Our conclusion is further bolstered up by the provisions contained in Section 353. Provisions contained in Section 389 also help us in drawing of such an inference. It would be, therefore, convenient for us to quote relevant portions of these sections here. They are as under :
"353. Judgment - (1) The judgment in every trial in any Criminal Court of original jurisdiction shall be pronounced in open Court by the presiding officer immediately after the termination of the trial or at some subsequent time of which notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders,
(a) by delivering the whole of the judgment; or
(b) by reading out the whole of the judgment; or
(c)  by reading out the operative part of thej udgment and explaining the substance of the judgment in a language which is understood by the accused or his pleader."
   "389. Suspension of sentence pending the appeal; release of appellant on bail. - (1) Pending any appeal by a convicted person, the Appellate Court may, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing, order that the execution of the sentence or order appealed against be suspended and, also, if he is in confinement, that he be released on bail, or on his own bond:
Provided that the Appellate Court shall, before releasing on bail or on his own bond a convicted person who is convicted of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years, shall give opportunity to the Public Prosecutor for showing cause in writing against such release:"
    It is clear from Section 353 that it requires a criminal Court to pronounce judgment in every trial in open Court immediately "after the termination of the trial or at some subsequent time". It is indicative of the fact that upon pronouncement of the judgment, in the contemplation of the scheme of the Code, there occurs termination of the trial. If we examine Section 389 of the Code, on the backdrop of Section 353, we would find that under the scheme of the Code, appeal has been considered to be a stage separate from trial, which comes into being after pronouncement of the judgment upon termination of the trial. In other words, unless there is termination of trial, there is no question of stage of appeal being born. That means the words "trial" and "appeal" have been used in distinctive sense thereby signaling that no one makes a mistake in understanding that "trial" is not synonymous with "appeal", when it comes to extending benefit available to an under trial prisoner to a convict undergoing sentence of imprisonment.
Of course, in general sense, appeal could be said to be an extension of trial on the parameters of rights available to a convict, principles to be followed by Appellate Court in appreciation of evidence and power of Appellate Court. But, this is not so for the purposes of Section 436-A of the Code. This is the reason why in Section 389 of the Code, the words "trial of the person", "are not used and instead the words, "pending any appeal by a convicted person" are employed for considering suspension of sentence of the convict and grant of bail to him.[Para No.23]

30 August 2020

Bail can not be refused on the ground of seriousness of offence and criminal antecedent alone

Learned counsel for the appellant has submitted that the accused Vikram Singh is involved in at least five other criminal cases under the same Police Station, Jagdishpur. He has also brought to our notice the witness statement of one Narendra Dev Upadhyay. This statement was recorded on 29 th March 2019. The part of his statement to which our attention has been drawn by learned counsel for the appellant records that the said witness saw Vikram Singh standing near National Highway 56 Flyover on the date of occurrence of the incident in Warisganj with 6 or 7 accomplices and all of them were talking about plans of killing the victim.

    Learned Counsel for the State of Uttar Pradesh supported the appellant’s stand. Mr. C.A. Sundram, learned senior counsel for the accused contested the present appeal. His main argument is that the statement of Narendra Dev Upadhyay, on which reliance was placed by the prosecution and the appellant was recorded after fifty days from the date of occurrence of the incident. On the question of granting bail, Mr. Sundram has argued, such a statement was unreliable. He has also submitted that even as per the F.I.R. or the witness statements recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, his client was not named as having participated in the act of assault or being present at the place of occurrence while the assault took place.[Para No.4]

Bail can not be refused on the ground of seriousness of offence and criminal antecedent alone
    On considering the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties. Having regard to the circumstances of this case, in our opinion, there has been no wrong or improper exercise of discretion on the part of the High Court in granting bail to the accused. The factors outlined in the case of Mahipal (supra) for testing the legality of an order granting bail are absent in the order impugned. The materials available do not justify arriving at the conclusion that the order impugned suffers from non-application of mind or the reason for granting bail is not borne out from a prima-facie view of the evidence on record. The offence alleged no doubt is grave and serious and there are several criminal cases pending against the accused. These factors by themselves cannot be the basis for refusal of prayer for bail. The High Court has exercised its discretion in granting bail to the accused Vikram Singh upon considering relevant materials. No ex-facie error in the order has been shown by the appellant which would establish exercise of such discretion to be improper. We accordingly sustain the order of the High Court granting bail. This appeal is dismissed.[Para No.7]

25 August 2020

Opinion expressed by High Court; while deciding bail application, can not be cited as a precedent in any other case

The appellant was the Secretary of the Mohammedpur Bujurg Kisan Sewa Sahkari Samiti Limited, Vikas Khand, Laksar, District Haridwar. While declining to grant bail, the High Court, by its order dated 20 February 2020, has come to the conclusion that the appellant falls under the definition of a “public servant”, as contained in Section 2(c)(viii) of the Act.[Para No.3]

    Assailing the finding of the High Court, Mr Aditya Singh, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, submitted that in pursuance of the earlier order of the High Court dated 27 January 2020, the Inspector, Vigilance Signature Not Verified Establishment, Dehradun, who is the investigating officer, filed an affidavit Digitally signed by ARJUN BISHT Date: 2020.08.24 18:25:18 IST Reason:
clarifying that the Society does not receive any financial assistance or aid from the State government. On this basis, learned counsel submitted that the 1 Act appellant does not fulfill the description of a “public servant” within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Act.[Para No.4]

Opinion expressed by High Court; while deciding bail application, can not be cited as a precedent in any other case
   In our view, it is not appropriate at the present stage to enter into a finding on whether or not the appellant fulfills the description of “public servant” as contained in Section 2(c) of the Act. Similarly, we are of the view that the issue whether the cooperative society is ‘State’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution did not arise for consideration before the High Court, and should not have been decided. This also is an issue on which no final opinion should be rendered at this stage in the context of adjudicating upon an application for bail. We, therefore, clarify that the impugned order of the High Court shall not be construed as an expression of any conclusive opinion nor will it be cited as a precedent in any other case.[Para No.6]

21 August 2020

In computing period of 60/90 days for default bail u/s.167(2) of CrPC, first day of remand is to be included

The applicability of the aforesaid principle and also of the provision contained in Section 9 of the General Clauses Act would be of some semblance/relevance, where the law/statute prescribes a limitation and in terms of Section 9, if in any Central Act or Regulation made after the commencement of the General Clauses Act, 1897 it shall be sufficient for the purpose of excluding the first in a series of days or any other days or any other period of time, to use the word ‘from’ and ‘for the purpose of including the last in a series of days or any other period of time to use the word ‘to’. The principle would be attracted when a period is delimited by a Statute or Rule, which has both a beginning and an end; the word ‘from’ indicate the beginning and then the opening day is to be excluded and then the last day is included by use of words ‘to’. The requisite form for applicability of Section 9 is prescribed for a period ‘from’ and ‘to’, i.e. when the period is marked by terminus quo and terminus ad quem.

    If this principle is the underlining principle for applicability of Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, perusal of Section 167 (2) would reveal that there is no starting point or an end point. In the scheme of the Code, as has been elaborated above, the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of Section 167 runs in continuation of sub-section (2). Production of the accused before the Magistrate is a sequel of his arrest by the police in exercise of their power and the mandate of the police, and at the same time, a right of the accused to be produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours. The day on which the accused is brought on remand before the Magistrate, sub-section (2) of Section 167 empowers the Magistrate to authorize the detention with the police either by continuing it or remanding him to Magisterial custody. There cannot be a pause/break between the two processes. There is no de-limitation conceptualized in Section 167 nor can it be befitted into a period of limitation ‘from’ and ‘to’ as there is no limitation for completion of investigation and filing of the charge-sheet. The production before the Magistrate is a process in continuation of his arrest by the police and the Magistrate will authorize his detention for not more than 15 days in the whole but if he is satisfied that sufficient ground exist, he may authorise his detention beyond 15 days otherwise than in custody of police. There is no starting point or end point for the authorities to complete their action but if the investigation is not completed and charge-sheet not filed within 60 days or 90 days, a right accrues to the accused to be released on bail.

In computing period of 60/90 days for default bail u/s167(2) of CrPC, first day of remand is to be included

    The anterior period of custody with the police prior to the remand is no detention pursuant to an authorization issued from the Magistrate. The period of detention by the Magistrate runs only from the date of order of first remand. Sub-section (2) of Section 167 of the Cr.P.C pertain to the power of the Magistrate to remand an accused and there is no reason why the first day has to be excluded. The sub-section finds place in a provision which prescribe the procedure when investigation cannot be completed in 24 hours and distinct contingencies are carved out in sub-section (2); the first being the Magistrate authorizing the detention of the accused for a term not exceeding 15 days in the whole, secondly, when the Magistrate do not consider further detention necessary and thirdly, the Magistrate authorise the detention beyond period of 15 days if adequate grounds exists for doing so. However, there is no time stipulated as to extension of custody beyond period of 15 days with a maximum limit on the same. The accused can be in magisterial custody for unlimited point of time if he is not admitted to bail. In order to avoid the long incarceration of an accused for the mere reason that the investigation is being carried out in a leisurely manner, prompted the legislature to confer a right on the accused to be released on bail if he is prepared to do so and the investigation can still continue. This is the precise reason why the General clauses Act cannot be made applicable to sub-section (2) of Section 167 and the submission of Mr.Singh to the effect that the first day of remand will have to be excluded, would result into a break in the continuity of the custody of the accused which begin on his arrest and which could have continued till conclusion of investigation but for insertion of proviso to subsection (2) of Section 167.

01 August 2020

Gravity of offence alone cannot be a decisive ground to deny bail

It is improper to refuse bail to an unconvicted person for the propose of giving him a taste of imprisonment as a lesson


    Recently, the Hon'ble Apex Court in Criminal Appeal No. 227/2018, Dataram Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr decided on 6.2.2018 has held that freedom of an individual can not be curtailed for indefinite period, especially when his/her guilt is yet to be proved. It has further held by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the aforesaid judgment that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. The Hon'ble Apex Court has held as under:
"2. A fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, meaning thereby that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. However, there are instances in our criminal law where a reverse onus has been placed on an accused with regard to some specific offences but that is another matter and does not detract from the fundamental postulate in respect of other offences. Yet another important facet of our criminal jurisprudence is that the grant of bail is the general rule and putting a person in jail or in a prison or in a correction home (whichever expression one may wish to use) is an exception.
    Unfortunately, some of these basic principles appear to have been lost sight of with the result that more and more persons are being incarcerated and for longer periods. This does not do any good to our criminal jurisprudence or to our society.
3. There is no doubt that the grant or denial of bail is entirely the discretion of the judge considering a case but even so, the exercise of judicial discretion has been circumscribed by a large number of decisions rendered by this Court and by every High Court in the country. Yet, occasionally there is a necessity to introspect whether denying bail to an accused person is the right thing to do on the facts and in the circumstances of a case.
4. While so introspecting, among the factors that need to be considered is whether the accused was arrested during investigations when that person perhaps has the best opportunity to tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses. If the investigating officer does not find it necessary to arrest an accused person during investigations, a strong case should be made out for placing that person in judicial custody after a charge sheet is filed. Similarly, it is important to ascertain whether the accused was participating in the investigations to the satisfaction of the investigating officer and was not absconding or not appearing when required by the investigating officer. Surely, if an accused is not hiding from the investigating officer or is hiding due to some genuine and expressed fear of being victimised, it would be a factor that a judge would need to consider in an appropriate case. It is also necessary for the judge to consider whether the accused is a first­time offender or has been accused of other offences and if so, the nature of such offences and his or her general conduct. The poverty or the deemed indigent status of an accused is also an extremely important factor
and even Parliament has taken notice of it by incorporating an Explanation to Section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. An equally soft approach to incarceration has been taken by Parliament by inserting Section 436A in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Gravity of offence alone cannot be a decisive ground to deny bail
5. To put it shortly, a humane attitude is required to be adopted by a judge, while dealing with an application for remanding a suspect or an accused person to police custody or judicial custody. There are several reasons for this including maintaining the dignity of an accused person, howsoever poor that person might be, the requirements of Article 21 of the Constitution and the fact that there is enormous overcrowding in prisons, leading to social and other problems as noticed by this Court in In Re­Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons."[Para No.8]

22 July 2020

Possibility of improvisation should be considered by Special Judge while deciding anticipatory bail in SC & ST Atrocity offences

When facts constituting atrocity are not mentioned in FIR but added in supplementary statement the it does not rule out possibility of improvisation.


   The important point that the learned Special Judge failed to consider is that, there is absolutely no mention in First Information Report of those facts which would attract offence under Atrocities Act. Those facts came to be mentioned in the supplementary statement. The possibility of improvisation should have been considered by the Special Judge. Definitely the ratio laid down in Prithviraj Chavan's case (Supra) is required to be considered and in the said case it has been observed thus, "10. Concerning the applicability of provisions of section 438 of Cr.P.C., it shall not apply tot he cases under Act of 1989. However, if the complaint does not make out a prima facie case for applicability of the provisions of the Act of 1989, the bar created by section 18 and 18A (I) shall not apply. We have clarified this aspect while deciding the review petitions "

Possibility of improvisation should be considered Special Judge while deciding anticipatory bail in SC & ST Atrocity offences
  Therefore, if we brush aside those allegations under the Atrocities Act, what remains is only the offences under Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act. Those remaining allegations do not require physical custody of the appellant for the purpose of investigation. Time and again this Court is observing the approach of the Special Judges under the Atrocities Act, who are dealing with the bail applications. They are not considering the facts of the case in proper manner and only on the apparent allegations and especially without considering the ratio laid down in Prithviraj Chavan's case (Supra), just dismissing the bail applications, especially the pre-arrest bail applications holding that, there is bar under Section 18 of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atocities) Act, 1989. Time has again come to remind the Special Judges under the Atrocities Act that, they should consider the ratio laid down in Prithviraj Chavan's case (Supra) and other Judgments of Hon'ble Supreme Court and this Court in proper manner while dealing with the bail applications.[Para No.9]

18 July 2020

Prison is primarily for punishing convicts ; not for detaining undertrials in order to send any 'message' to society

While in the additional status report the State says that 
“.... Granting of bail at this early stage may send an adverse message in the society and such crimes should not
be allowed to happen in the national capital. ....”. 
(Emphasis supplied) 

Prison is primarily for punishing convicts ; not for detaining undertrials in order to send any 'message' to society
this court is of the view that that cannot be basis for denying bail, if the court is otherwise convinced that no purpose in aid of investigation and prosecution will be served by keeping the accused in judicial custody. Prison is primarily for punishing convicts ; not for detaining undertrials in order to send any ‘message’ to society. The remit of the court is to dispense justice in accordance with law, not to send messages to society. It is this sentiment, whereby the State demands that undertrials be kept in prison inordinately without any purpose, that leads to overcrowding of jails ; and leaves undertrials with the inevitable impression that they are being punished even before trial and therefore being treated unfairly by the system. If at the end of a protracted trial,  the prosecution is unable to bring home guilt, the State cannot give back to the accused the years of valuable life lost in prison. On the other hand, an accused would of course be made to undergo his sentence after it has been awarded, after trial. [Para No.16]


09 July 2020

Bail application u/s.167(2) of CrPC must be dispose of forthwith

Now, the law in relation to the right of an accused to bail in the event charge-sheet is not filed within the stipulated time-frame under section 167(2) Cr.P.C. is well settled. In Achpal alias Ramswaroop & Anr. vs. State of Rajasthan : (2019) 14 SCC 599, the Supreme Court has reiterated the following position of law:

"11. The law on the point as to the rights of an accused who is in custody pending investigation and where the investigation is not completed within the period prescribed under Section 167(2) of the Code, is crystallised in the judgment of this Court in Uday Mohanlal Acharya v. State of Maharashtra. This case took into account the decision of this Court in Hitendra Vishnu Thakur v. State of Maharashtra, Sanjay Dutt (2) v. State and Bipin Shantilal Panchal v. State of Gujarat. Pattanaik, J. (as the learned Chief Justice then was) speaking for the majority recorded conclusions in para 13 of his judgment. For the present purposes, we may extract Conclusions 3 and 4 as under: (Uday Mohanlal Acharya case, SCC p. 473, para 13) "13. ... 3. On the expiry of the said period of 90 days or 60 days, as the case may be, an indefeasible right accrues in favour of the accused for being released on bail on account of default by the investigating agency in the completion of the investigation within the period prescribed and the accused is entitled to be released on bail, if he is prepared to and furnishes the bail as directed by the Magistrate.
Bail application u/s.167(2) of CrPC must be dispose of forthwith
4.  When an application for bail is filed by an accused for enforcement of his indefeasible right alleged to have been accrued in his favour on account of default on the part of the investigating agency in completion of the investigation within the specified period, the Magistrate/court must dispose of it forthwith, on being satisfied that in fact the accused has been in custody for the period of 90 days or 60 days, as specified and no charge-sheet has been filed by the investigating agency. Such prompt action on the part of the Magistrate/court will not enable the prosecution to frustrate the object of the Act and the legislative mandate of an accused being released on bail on account of the default on the part of the investigating agency in completing the investigation within the period stipulated."

03 July 2020

Accused is not entitled for default bail u/s.167(2) of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet has already been filed before his surrender in the court

Offence u/s. 420, 406, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and 7 & 13(1) A of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 - Chargesheet against one accused filed on 23.01.2019 - applicant-accused shown as absconded - on 23.11.2019 applicant-accused surrendered before the court - application for default bail u/s.167(2) of Cr.P.C. filed om 24.02.2020

Held: It is not essential for a person to be arrested before chargesheet can be presented against him. The only requirement for applicability of the proviso to Section 167(2) Cr.P.C. is that investigation should be pending against the petitioner-accused and no investigation can be said to be pending if chargesheet is filed before his arrest or surrender before the court.


   A perusal of the challan presented on 23.01.2019, a copy whereof is annexed as Annexure P-2, shows that list of the case property had been filed therewith along with a list of witnesses. Thereafter, the facts of the case have been narrated. The last few lines are reproduced:-
"The warrants have been got issued from the Learned Illaqa Magistrate against Sandeep Kumar son of Jagdish Chander r/o Panj Ke Utar Police Station Guruharsahai, Rishu Matneja w/o Sandeep Kumar r/o Panj Ke Utar Police Station Guruharsahai, Jaswinder Pal Singh son of Gurmeet Singh r/o Dashmesh Nagar Jalalabad, Jasmeet Singh son of Amarjeet Singh r/o Jalalabad. Hansa Singh, Inspector Grade 2, resident of Shamshabad, District Fazilka, Harpreet Singh son of Gurmeet Singh resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Jalalabad and after arresting them supplementary challan would be presented in the court and after getting evidence of involvement of staff of Punjab National Bank, a separate supplementary challan would be submitted against them. The pending enquiry of the case after taking the record and thereafter supplementary challan shall be presented. As per the evidence, the investigation till and the evidence collected on file challan under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406, 120-B IPC against accused Sandeep Kumar is required to be presented and the same after being prepared against Sandeep Kumar under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 406, 120-B IPC is being presented to the Court. The witnesses mentioned
in Column no.6 shall give their statements as required."[Para No.11]
Accused is not entitled for default bail u/s.167 of Cr.P.C. if chargesheet has already been filed before his surrender in the court
From the aforementioned reproduction from the challan it is evident that evidence necessary for commencement of trial against the petitioner and his co-accused has/had been collected by the investigating agency. The petitioner was kept in column No.2 only because he had not been arrested as is the practice in the State of Punjab. Learned counsel for the petitioner has not refuted the submission of the learned State counsel that such a practice exists in the State of Punjab. Warrants of arrest had been requested for and this would not have been the case if the petitioner had not been found guilty. The challan dated 24.02.2020 against the petitioner was only a formality. In Dinesh Dalmia (supra) it has been held as follows:-
Adv. Jainodin's Legal Blog