Anticipatory bail cannot be denied on sole grounds that a serious charge is levelled against accused

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, J dismissed a petition filed under Section 439(2) r/w Section 482 of the CrPC before it. The petition was filed against the anticipatory bail granted to the Respondent 2 by the Learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Special Judge, Special Fast Track Court, Rohini Courts, Delhi against an FIR under Sections 354, 354-A, 509, 506, 323 and 34 of the IPC.

The petitioner, on 25.03.2017, was on her way to her parental home along with her sister aged 10 years and son aged 2 ½ years. Along the way, allegedly, Respondent 2 along with 3 other co-accused molested her en route and Respondent 2 then took off his clothes and tried to rape her but she was saved by the public. Meanwhile, the petitioner’s father reached the spot to save her but was beaten up by Respondent 2 and the other co-accused. Subsequently, the FIR was recorded at the hospital.

The accused filed two petitions for grant of anticipatory bail. While the first was rejected, the second was granted by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge. Aggrieved by this order dated 27.04.2017, the petitioner had approached the High Court. Learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that the trial Court has erred in passing the order as it is based on conjectures and surmises, and that the second application granted had no new grounds compared to the first one, and hence, should be set aside. Per contra, learned counsel for Respondent 2 contended that the prosecution case was a complete fabrication and it was he who was the victim of a public beating by the petitioner and her family. Moreover, it was further contended that the petitioner has various FIRs against her by various persons of the locality, and in contrast, Respondent 2 is an educated boy aged 23 years having a whole career ahead of himself.

The Court considered the facts and circumstances of the case and went over the established principles regarding anticipatory bail. It noted that the court granting bail should exercise it’s discretion in a judicious manner and not as a matter of course. However, during granting of bail, a detailed examination of evidence and elaborate documentation of merit of the case is not required to be undertaken. Another principle is that enlargement on bail is the rule and committal to jail is an exception.

Moving ahead, the Court looked into the behaviour of Respondent 2. There were no allegations that the during this period he had tried to influence or threaten the witnesses. The mobile phone sent for investigation returned a ‘simple’ result. The Court moved on to hold that even when there is a serious charge leveled against the appellant, it by itself cannot be the reason to deny anticipatory bail. Also, the inherent powers of the Court under Section 482, under which the bail could be quashed, has to be exercised with caution and prudence. The Court found no need to interfere with the impugned order passed by the trial court. Petition dismissed. [Shivali Sharma v. State, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 11882,  decided on 20.11.2017]

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