Bail might not be granted if there exists reasonable belief about prima facie truth in the prosecution case

Madras High Court: The High Court recently dealt with a petition for bail under S. 439 of the CrPC wherein the petitioner-accused was arrested and remanded to Judicial Custody for commission of offenses under Sections 120(B), 153(A), 353 and 307  IPC along with Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 (Amendment Act 54 of 2001) which essentially deal with punishment for causing explosion or making/ keeping explosives with the intent to endanger life or making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances and Sections 10, 14 and 16(1)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which again, in essence, deal with punishment for being part of any unlawful association or penalty for commission of any terrorist act.

The facts of the case involve the petitioner who had previously been accused of planting pipe bomb to assassinate Shri L.K. Advani at Madurai while the latter was on his tour and hence, already had a non-bailable warrant pending against him when the Investigating Officer was made aware of his whereabouts in Badlagundu. On trying to execute the warrant, the petitioner attacked the Officer but couldn’t cause any harm and was eventually taken to the Thirumangalam Taluk Police Station. On interrogating him, he confessed to have concealed explosives/weapons etc. On further investigation, the weapons were revived from a place nearby the spot of the petitioner’s arrest following which the aforementioned sections were invoked against him.

S.M.A Jinnah, counsel on behalf of the petitioner argued that the prosecution’s case was false due to various discrepancies such as that the petitioner was only remanded on a much later date from the date of occurrence of the alleged incident. At an even later date, the charges were altered and the case was committed to the Sessions Court together on the very same day. The petitioner hence contended that the alleged incident never even took place. He also put forth another contention that since he had been enlarged on bail in all other cases, including for the pipe bombing one by the High Court and had been in prison for more than 3-and-a-half years, he should be granted bail.

Mr. Raja Rathinam, the Public Prosecutor argued that there exist reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the petitioner are prima facie true owing which the he shouldn’t be granted bail as is prescribed under S. 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act), 1967. He not only tried to resist the execution of the Warrant but his confessions also led to recovery of various explosives etc which were in his possession. It was also clarified that only the formal arrest was shown on the records at a later stage and the alteration in the charges took place due to the discovery of the explosive weapons etc.

The Court thus held that there existed sufficient reasonable grounds to believe the prima facie truth in the case of the prosecution and hence, bail couldn’t be granted. Dr. G. Jayachandran, J. observed that it was clear from the case that the accused was indeed absconding from the process of law and obstructed the execution of the warrant against him along with the recovery of several explosive substances, all of which lead to the conclusion that these constitute reasonable belief about prima facie truth. [Mohamed Hanifa @ Thenkasi Hanifa v. State, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 2902, decided on 27.06.2017]

 

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