Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of H.S. Madaan, J. denied bail to the petitioner who was accused of honour killing of his sister.

The petitioner was alleged to have done away with the life of his sister. The complainant, Rohtash Kumar, in his written complaint submitted that he had married one Kiran Rani, sister of the accused; and since it was an inter-caste marriage, her family was not convinced. After the marriage was solemnised, Kiran went back to her parent’s home to complete studies. The complainant informed that on 22-1-2017, he received a call from the petitioner, brother of Kiran who threatened to kidnap him and further told him that he had killed Kiran and cremated her. Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered; the investigation was done; and the charge sheet was filed under Sections 201, 302, 328, 506 and 34 IPC. He was facing trial and approached the Court for grant of bail.

The High Court perused the record and found it a case where judicial discretion ought not to be exercised in favour of the petitioner. The Court observed, cases of honor killing are increasing day by day, which is a very unhealthy trend. This tendency needs to be curbed. Persons indulging in honor killings must be dealt with sternly to send a message around that people indulging in such type of crimes shall be held accountable for their wrongful acts. The High Court noted the apprehension expressed by the respondent that if the petitioner was released on bail, there was the likelihood of him absconding and tampering with the prosecution evidence. Observing this, the High Court denied bail to the petitioner and accordingly, the petition was dismissed. [Ashok Kumar v. State of Haryana, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 803, dated 31-05-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: The Order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate granting bail to the accused was upheld by a Single Judge Bench comprising of S. Talapatra, J. holding that the grounds for cancellation of bail were not made out in the instant petition.

The petition was filed under Section 439 (2) CrPC for cancellation of bail granted to the accused as he was found suffering from the psychotic disorder. The petitioner contended that the accused had killed his parents and sister, he was not in a fit mental condition; and if he was out on bail, he would do more macabre things.

After considering the entire record, the Court did not find any ground for cancellation of bail. The Court, relying on the decision of the Supreme Court passed in State (Delhi Admn.) v.  Sanjay Gandhi, (1978) 2 SCC 411, observed that the cancellation of bail stands on a different footing from the rejection of bail. The Court held that the following grounds are available for cancellation of a bail already granted:

  • if the accused made an attempt to flee from justice;
  • if he tried to tamper with the evidence;
  • if supervening circumstances show that it would no longer be conducive to a fair trial to allow the accused to retain his freedom during the trial;
  • if the order granting bail was without jurisdiction;
  • if there was a wrongful exercise of power by the Magistrate in granting bail.

The Court held that in the instant case, no such allegation was made. In fact, the accused whose bail was sought to be cancelled was still languishing in jail. The Court found no reason to interfere with the impugned order and the petition was, therefore, dismissed holding it to be sans merit. Moreover, it was gathered that the petitioner required proper medical intervention for which orders were made and directions were given to the appropriate Authority.[Kaushik Halder v.  State of Tripura,2018 SCC OnLine Tri 68, dated 10-05-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While addressing a bail application under Section 439  CrPC, 1973, the Single Judge bench of Sudip Ahluwalia J., explained the fundamental nature and essence of the constituents that would amount to waging war in respect of social media platforms.

The brief facts of the case state that the petitioner was charged under Sections 121/121-A of IPC and Sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.  For the charged offences petitioner claims that they are not established on prosecution material.

The contentions on behalf of the petitioner which have been placed before the court take reliance from the decision of the Apex Court in , Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, (1995) 3 SCC 214, in which conviction was placed upon for the offences under Sections 124-A and 153-A Indian Penal Code, 1860 and was further set aside by stating that “The learned trial Judge, to say the least, seems to have drawn upon his imagination a course not permissible for a Court of Law.”

The counter placed on behalf of the State was that, petitioner’s involvement was not only in propaganda and inciting people to resort to violence leading to waging war against the Government of India, in fact, it also constituted provocative messages from leaders of terrorist groups based in Pakistan on social media/ facebook which is accessible to innumerable people around the world.

Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court on noting the facts of the case stated that in the present case the reliance placed by the petitioner on the case of Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, (1995) 3SCC 214 would not be applied. In the instant case the incitement is on social media platform which is accessible to the world and not just a limited crowd as was the case in the relied case of the Supreme Court, further bail was not granted and the petitioner was stated to be liable under Section 122 of IPC which is at par punishable with Section 121-A for which he is already facing trial. [Arvinder Singh v. State of Punjab, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 762, dated 01-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: The Single Judge Bench comprising of Arvind Singh Chandel, J., granted regular bail to an offender charged under Sections 366, 376(2) (n), 342/34 of the Penal Code.

The brief facts of the case are that the prosecutrix had lodged a complaint against the applicant who had forcibly asked her to marry him and later when the prosecutrix went to complain about the same, she was taken by her brother-in-law (co-accused) to a lodge where she stayed along with him where he committed rape with her and it continued. Later on, it was discovered on collection of some information that the applicant was already married.

The submissions of the learned counsel for the applicant states that the applicant was falsely implicated in the case as the prosecutrix was a consenting party in the present case and taking due reference through these submissions he has prayed for bail of the applicant.

Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court on taking due consideration from the facts and circumstances of the case along with the contention of the applicant’s counsel, observed that the prosecutrix being a major girl had on her own will stayed with the applicant at the lodge and the crux of the case is that she took 3 months to lodge the complaint against the same, Court concluded its order on the same by granting bail to the applicant as trial would take some time and till that time he is allowed to be released on bail. [Bandhan Jagte v. State of Chhattisgarh,  2018 SCC OnLine Chh 390; dated 05-04-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Kurian Jospeh, MM Shantanagoudan and Navin Sinha, JJ asked larger bench to authoritatively settle the following questions in a clear and unambiguous way:

  • Whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 CrPC should be limited to a fixed period so as to enable the person to surrender before the Trial Court and seek regular bail.
  • Whether the life of an anticipatory bail should end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court.

The issue as to whether an anticipatory bail should be for a limited period of time was before the bench for consideration and it took note of the fact that there were conflicting views of the different Benches of varying strength on the said issue.

While the Constitution Bench verdict in Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 565, holds that anticipatory bail should not be for a limited period, the 3-judge bench verdict in Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra, (1996) 1 SCC 667, without referring to the aforementioned Constitution Bench verdict, holds that anticipatory bail orders should be of a limited duration only and ordinarily on the expiry of that duration or extended duration the court granting anticipatory bail should leave it to the regular court to deal with the matter on an appreciation of evidence placed before it after the investigation has made progress or the charge-sheet is submitted.

Amicus Curiae Harin P. Raval, hence, submitted before the Court that in the light of the two conflicting schools of thought the matter needs consideration by a larger Bench. According to him even the Constitution Bench in Sibbia Case does not, in so many words, lay down a proposition that the protection of anticipatory bail is available to an accused till the conclusion of the trial.

The Court noticed that in Sibbia case, the Court has only briefly dealt with the question of duration of anticipatory bail and has not laid down the law that once an anticipatory bail, it is an anticipatory bail forever. Hence, the Bench referred the matter to a larger bench. [Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi),  2018 SCC OnLine SC 531, decided on 15.05.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sreenivas Harish Kumar, J. decided a criminal petition, wherein the Court released the accused on bail in light of lack of prima facie case against him.

The petitioner-accused was booked in a criminal case for offences punishable under Sections 4 and 6 of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with Sections 363 and 376 IPC. The complaint was filed by the mother of the victim girl. The girl was traced and her statement was recorded under Section 164 CrPC. In her statement, the girl stated that she was in love with the accused. They wanted to marry each other. The accused came to her college and took her with him to his sister’s house.

On perusal of the statement of the girl, the Court was of the view that at the instant stage, prima facie materials were not forthcoming to make out a case for alleged offence under POCSO Act and IPC. The statement of the girl clearly showed that there was love between her and the accused. The investigation was complete and charge-sheet had been filed. The Court held that detention of the petitioner in custody was not necessary. Therefore, the petition was allowed and the accused was enlarged on bail subject to the conditions imposed. [Putappa v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 9797 of 2017, dated 27.4.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu And Kashmir High Court: The order passed by the Special Magistrate cancelling the interim bail granted to the petitioners-accused was set aside by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Janak Raj Kotwal, J.

The petitioners were booked under Sections 323, 341 and 354 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), 1989 along with Section 7(c) of the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act, 1955. The petitioners applied for bail and the Special Judge by a detailed order admitted the petitioners to interim bail. Thereafter, considering the application moved by the victim of the alleged incident, the same Magistrate cancelled the bail already granted to the petitioners on the ground that they concealed the fact that they had moved an anticipatory bail application before the 1st Additional Sessions Judge which was dismissed as withdrawn; and also that the petitioners concealed the incorporation of special offence under the PCR Act in the FIR. Against this order of the Magistrate canceling the bail of the petitioners, they filed the instant petition.

The Court held it to be a well settled legal position that bail, interim or final, once granted, can be cancelled only if a case for cancellation is made out having regard to the factors, which are certainly other than those to be considered for the purpose of grant/refusal of bail. On considering the record, the Court found that there was no concealment of facts as alleged by the victim, stated hereinabove. The Court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Daulat Ram v. State of Haryana, (1995) 1 SCC 349, wherein it was held that:

“…the ground for cancellation of bail, broadly (illustrative and not exhaustive) are: interference or attempt to interfere with the due course of administration of justice or evasion or attempt to evade the due course of justice or abuse of the concession granted to the accused in any manner. The satisfaction of the Court, on the basis of material placed on the record or the possibility of the accused absconding is yet another reason justifying the cancellation of bail”.

Hence, the Court allowed the petition and quashed the order of the Magistrate canceling bail of the petitioners holding that the Magistrate fell in error of law in recalling the bail order on misconceived pleas of the victim. [Bushan Kumar v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 262, order dated 18-04-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J. decided a criminal petition, wherein the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail reiterating that an accused is innocent until proven guilty in accordance with law.

The petitioner was apprehending arrest in a criminal case arising out of an FIR registered under Sections 420 and 406 IPC along with Sections 3 and 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Learned Advocate General appearing for the State admitted that pursuant to the earlier order of the High Court, the petitioner handed over the entire stock of wheat/flour to the Officials of the Food and Civil Supply Corporation. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner had duly complied with the order of the Court and was co-operating with the investigation and hence, petitioner’s custody was not necessary and he may be granted anticipatory bail.

The High Court perused the record as well as submissions made on behalf of the parties and found it to be fit case to exercise jurisdiction in favour of the petitioner. The Court, referring to various decisions of the Supreme Court observed that the object of bail is to secure attendance of the accused in the trial; an accused is innocent until he is proven guilty in accordance with law; freedom of an individual is of utmost importance and cannot be curtailed merely on ground of suspicion; and even otherwise normal rule is of bail and not jail. The Court held that in light of the fact that the petitioner handed over entire stock of wheat/flour held by him in compliance of the order of the Court and also that he was co-operating in the investigation, the petitioner had made out a case for grant of anticipatory bail in his favour.

Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was enlarged on anticipatory bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Rakesh Kumar Kaushal v. State of H.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine HP 486, order dated 13-04-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. decided a criminal petition filed under Section 438 CrPC, wherein the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail considering the facts and circumstances of the case.

The petitioner was accused of committing offence punishable under Section 376 IPC. It was alleged that on the pretext of marrying the prosecutrix, the petitioner harassed her physically and mentally. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the FIR was a result of some confusion that the petitioner was marrying another lady, however, such fact was denied by the petitioner. In fact, subsequently, the petitioner had married the prosecutrix. Counsel prayed that petitioner’s bail application may be allowed and he may be granted anticipatory bail.

The High Court perused the record and found that the fact of marriage between the petitioner and the prosecutrix was evident from the marriage certificate produced before the Court. Further it was observed that the petitioner was employed in the Indian Army; he was joining and cooperating in the investigation; and was neither in a position to flee from justice, nor in a position to tamper with evidence. Considering all these facts and circumstances, the Court held that this was a fit case to exercise judicial discretion in favour of the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Rajender Kumar v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 357, dated 2.4.2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: The accused-appellant who was in custody in relation to offences punishable under various sections of IPC and POCSO Act, was enlarged on bail by a Single Judge Bench comprising of P.K. Lohra, J.

The accused was charged under Sections 363, 366-A, 342 and 376 of IPC along with Sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act. The accused had filed a post-arrest bail application which was rejected by the learned Special Judge. The said order was challenged by the accused-appellant in the instant petition. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the trial court did not appreciate the evidence in proper light and prayed that the accused be enlarged on bail.

The High Court bestowed its consideration to the arguments advanced at the Bar and perused the evidence on record as well as the impugned order. The Court closely considered the submissions made on behalf of the appellant that in his statement, the medical expert stated that the prosecutrix was above 18 years of age. There was a delay of more than one and a half month, from the date of incident, in lodging the FIR which per se creates doubt about the incident. The prosecutrix accompanied the appellant of her own volition and lived with him for about two months. There were contradictions in the statements of the prosecutrix herself. Further, the appellant was in custody for about one and a half year and completion of trial was likely to take considerable time. Considering these facts and circumstances of the case, the Court held that the trial court erred in declining bail to the accused-appellant. Therefore, the impugned order was set aside and the appellant was enlarged on bail. [Ramdev v. State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 740,  order dated 05-04-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of John Michael Cunha, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 439 CrPC, wherein the petitioners- Accused 2 and 3, were enlarged on bail, holding that the circumstantial evidence against the petitioners placed on record was not sufficient to extend the custody of the petitioners.

The petitioners were booked under Sections 143, 147, 148, 302, 323, 363, 506 read with Section 149 IPC. It was alleged that the petitioners caused death of the deceased. Learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the case against the petitioners was based on suspicion. And the evidence collected by the prosecution was too week to connect the petitioners to the alleged crime. He submitted that the investigation in the case was complete and hence, the petitioners may be enlarged on bail.

The High Court perused the record and found that the case of the prosecution was based on circumstantial evidence. The circumstance relied on by the prosecution was the last seen theory. However, there was no clear material as to the motive behind the alleged crime. Therefore, taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances, the Court held that it was not proper to extend the custody of the petitioners solely by way of punishment. Accordingly, the petitioners- accused 2 and 3, were enlarged on bail. [Jameer v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 100086 of 2018, order dated 23.3.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sreenivas Harish Kumar, J., allowed a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC and granted bail to the petitioner considering the facts and circumstances of the case.

The petitioner was a co-accused in a criminal case registered under Section 304 read with Section 34 of IPC. The allegation against the petitioner was that he, along with other accused persons, assaulted the deceased outside a church that resulted in his death. Learned counsel for the petitioner prayed that he may be enlarged on bail contending that from the averments made in the complaint, intention on the part of accused to cause death of the deceased was not made out. Per contra, the prosecution submitted that the accused persons teased the wife of the deceased in the church and this was questioned by the deceased. Later, when the deceased and his wife came out of the church, the deceased was assaulted by the accused persons. Therefore, the prosecution contended that the intention on the part of the accused to cause murder could be clearly made out.

The High Court perused the record and was of the opinion that at the instant stage, it was too early to say whether there was any intention on part of the accused to cause murder; it was for the trial court to appreciate the evidence and come to a proper conclusion. Although the allegations against the petitioner were serious in nature, however, having regard to the fact that the charge was laid in his presence and his custody was no more required for further investigation, the Court held that the petitioner could be enlarged on bail by imposing stringent conditions. Orders were made accordingly. [Santhosh v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 440 of 2018, order dated 9.3.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Acknowledging the abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the Atrocities Act), the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ said that the legislature never intended to use the Atrocities Act as an instrument to blackmail or to wreak personal vengeance nor was it intended to deter public servants from performing their bona fide duties. It was, hence, held that unless exclusion of anticipatory bail is limited to genuine cases and inapplicable to cases where there is no prima facie case was made out, there will be no protection available to innocent citizens.

The Court said:

“the Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation or oppression by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens as has been found on several occasions. … Any harassment of an innocent citizen, irrespective of caste or religion, is against the guarantee of the Constitution.”

Background:

The Court was hearing an appeal against the order of the Bombay High Court where it was held that no public servant or reviewing authority need to apprehend any action by way of false or frivolous prosecution, but the penal provisions of the Atrocities Act could not be faulted merely because of possibility of abuse. In the present matter, certain adverse remarks were recorded under the Atrocities Act against the appellant who was serving as the Director of Technical Education in the State of Maharashtra at the relevant time. Apart from the facts of the present appeal, it was brought to the Court’s notice that there are instances of abuse of the Act by vested interests against political opponents in Panchayat, Municipal or other elections, to settle private civil disputes arising out of property, monetary disputes, employment disputes and seniority disputes.

Conclusion:

The Court held:

“an accused is certainly entitled to show to the Court, if he apprehends arrest, that case of the complainant was motivated. If it can be so shown there is no reason that the Court is not able to protect liberty of such a person. There cannot be any mandate under the law for arrest of an innocent. The law has to be interpreted accordingly.”

Holding that mere unilateral allegation by any individual belonging to any caste, when such allegation is clearly motivated and false, cannot be treated as enough to deprive a person of his liberty without an independent scrutiny, the Court issued the following directions:

  • there is no absolute bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide.
  • arrest of a public servant can only be after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the S.S.P. which may be granted in appropriate cases if considered necessary for reasons recorded. Such reasons must be scrutinized by the Magistrate for permitting further detention.
  • to avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Atrocities Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.
  • any violation of the direction of the Court will be actionable by way of disciplinary action as well as contempt.

[Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 243, decided on 20.03.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sreenivas Harsih Kumar, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC, wherein the petitioner was enlarged on bail holding that there was no prima facie material against the accused-petitioner.

The petitioner was accused of taking away the victim girl to his house and committing rape on her by giving her intoxicating drink. The complaint was made by mother of the victim in relation to the alleged incident and a criminal case was registered against the petitioner. He was arrested for the alleged crime. The petitioner filed the instant petition praying to be enlarged on bail.

The High Court perused the record and found that in her statement before the Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC, the victim girl had revealed about her love affair with the petitioner; however, nowhere did she mention anything about the committing of rape on her by the petitioner. The victim girl was about seventeen years of age at the time of alleged incident. Although, the mention of the alleged incident is found in her statement before the police under Section 161 CrPC, but nothing is said about it in her statement before the Magistrate. The Court was of the opinion that there was no prima facie material against the petitioner in relation to the alleged offence.

Hence, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was enlarged on bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Jaheer v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 10 of 2018, order dated 1.3.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A miscellaneous bail application was decided by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Suneet Kumar, J., wherein the Court declined to enlarge the applicant on bail who was an accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

A case under Sections 386, 120B, 392 and 411 IPC along with Sections 7 and 8 of PC Act was registered against the applicant who was the Additional Road Transport Officer (Enforcement). Learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant was falsely implicated in the case; he was not present at the scene of incident that was alleged in the FIR; the charge-sheet had already been filed; and thus the applicant may be enlarged on bail. On the other hand, the Additional Government Advocate along with the prosecution witness, opposed the bail application submitting that the applicant was an influential person and would interfere with the investigation in the case.

The High Court perused the record and found that the applicant was indeed an influential person having contacts in political and power circles. His assets were disproportionate to his income. He was involved with huge business concerns in eastern U.P. The Court was also of the view that he managed to influence the Investigating Officer and thus interfered with the investigation. Further, the prosecution witnesses stated that they were receiving threats by and on behalf of the applicant. The Court found that the conduct of the applicant was such that would jeopardize criminal administration of justice.

The Court was convinced that there was a serious threat to the prosecution witnesses; further, there was likelihood that the applicant may destroy the evidences, or was likely to commit more offences during the period of his release on bail. The Court was of the opinion that the applicant was not entitled to be enlarged on bail at the stage in interest of society; and the bail application was accordingly dismissed. [Radhey Shyam Yadav v. State of U.P., Criminal Misc. Bail Application No. 37688 of 2017, dated 01-12-2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC seeking to enlarge the petitioner on bail, wherein the prayer as sought by the petitioner was granted.

The petitioner was accused in a criminal case registered under Sections 452, 307, 323, 324, 325, 107, 147, 148, 149, 504, 506, 201 and 120B of IPC. It was alleged that he along with other co-accused trespassed into the house of the complainant and attacked her son whereby he was grievously injured. The petitioner submitted that the complainant nowhere mention him in her first statement under Section 154 CrPC, and it was only after a gap of seven days that his name was added as an accused in the FIR. He submitted that he was falsely implicated in the case. He further submitted that there was no material on record against him; he prayed that he may be granted bail and he was ready to abide by conditions to be imposed by the Court.

The High Court perused the record and found that the prosecution material was not sufficient to prove a prima facie case against the petitioner. The delay of more than six days in adding his name as an accused was unexplained. There was nothing on record to suggest that if enlarged on bail, he may flee from justice. The Court observed that gravity of the offence alone is not a ground to deny bail; the normal rule is of bail and not jail; the objective of bail is preventive not punitive. The Court also referred to a Supreme Court decision in Prasanta Kumar Sarkar v. Ashis Chatterjee, (2010) 14 SCC 496, wherein as many as nine principles to be kept in mind while deciding a bail petition were discussed. Looking at the entirety of the case, the material on record, and the principles discussed; the Court was of the view that it was fit case to exercise judicial discretion in favor of the petitioner.

Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was enlarged on bail subject to the conditions imposed. [Javed v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 119, order dated 19.1.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Jharkhand: The Single Judge Bench comprising of Chandrashekhar, J., recently dealt with a bail petition wherein he held that if the prosecution has already examined a substantial number of witnesses, a comment on the worth of the witnesses will be improper.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner had been accused of committing offences under certain sections of the Penal Code, 1860 and hence, he applied for the granting of either anticipatory bail or bail since it had been granted to similarly situated persons. The counsel for the petitioner argued that since the co-accused had been granted bail, on the point of parity, the petitioner is also entitled to bail. he further contended that conviction on the basis of last seen together is a weak piece of evidence and hence, on that basis alone, the petitioner cannot be convicted. The prosecution side contended that the petitioner’s case was different from the co-accused since he was the sole person who was responsible for the kidnapping of the deceased consequent to which he was found dead. Witnesses have asserted the presence of the petitioner at the crime scene and he was the only one whose name was registered in the FIR.

Hence, the Court dismissed the petition and accordingly, no bail was granted to the petitioner. [Ramadhar Singh @ Ramadhar Sah v. State of Jharkhand, 2017 SCC OnLine Jhar 2669 , order dated 18.8.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: In the order passed by Prashant Kumar Mishra, J., addressed a criminal petition filed on the basis of Paper Under Disposal (PUD) referred by the District & Sessions Judge Bilaspur, seeking guidelines on certain difficulties faced by the trial Judges on the presentation of forged sureties to obtain bail and release order on the basis of forged revenue papers or by impersonating the real surety. The Court modified its order that made Aadhaar card of the accused as well as surety mandatory before obtaining bail. Now the surety can submit any document of identification like voter ID, PAN, passport.

The brief facts being that the applicant stood surety in the Court of Special Judge by impersonating some other person to obtain a bail or release order, which happened to be true when investigated and verified by the Tahsildar concerned and subsequently the Court of Special Judge had lodged a report against the applicant for offences under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860.

The learned counsel gave their inputs on the above subject-matter that this has become a frequent practice, which needs to be nipped in the bud and to be controlled and regulated before it reaches enormous proportion and hence prayed to the Court to direct the trial courts to ensure obtaining papers of identification at the time of approving the surety documents for issuance of release warrants.

The Court referring to the Supreme Court judgment in Moti Ram v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1978) 4 SCC 47 added that the submission of Aadhar Card may not be made mandatory. Objection has also been raised to the condition where this Court has put a bar that, one surety cannot stand in more than two cases by introducing Section 441-A as introduced by Act No. 25 of 2005, w.e.f 23.06.2006 which the presiding officer shall strictly follow.

Further, the learned counsel who have suggested modification made a common pitch for immediate release of the accused after the submission of surety papers making the process of verification subsequent to the release within a particular time frame.

The Court held that the directions in substitution of the previous directions issued in paragraph 10 of the order dated 05.01.2018 passed in M.CrC No. 3957 of 2017 shall be followed and that after doing so the Presiding Officer shall certify in the order sheet of the case that the verification of the papers/documents has been done in accordance with the order passed by this Court. [Ved Prakash Gupta v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 75, decided on 01-02-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC, wherein it was held that gravity of the offence can not be the sole ground to deny bail to the accused, rather it has to be weighed with competing factors.

The petitioner was accused in a criminal case registered under Sections 366, 376 and 504 of IPC. It was alleged that the petitioner took the prosecutrix in her car against her will, threatened her to marry him, and committed sexual assault on her. The petitioner denied the allegations, and submitted that the prosecutrix went along with him of her own free will. It was also submitted that the petitioner was a student aged 24 years, and if he is allowed to be incarcerated in jail for indefinite period, it would prejudice his career and future.

The High Court after perusing the record, observed that the prosecutrix along with her cousin went in the car of the petitioner of her own will and prima facie material did not show that she was threatened by the petitioner as they also stopped at a certain place and had dinner where the prosecutrix had a chance to raise an alarm, which she chose not to. The Court referred to various decisions of the Supreme Court to discuss the law and principles regarding the grant of bail and reached the conclusion that gravity of offence has to be weighed against other factors like nature of evidence, severity of punishment, character of the accused and circumstances peculiar to the accused involved in the crime.

Basing its decision on the observations made in the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the High Court allowed the petition and enlarged him on bail, subject to conditions imposed. [Manoj Kumar v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 118, order dated 19.1.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Budihal R.B., J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC, wherein bail was denied to the petitioner-accused in light of the fact that evidence of complainant witnesses was yet to be recorded.

The petitioner was co-accused in a criminal case registered under Sections 143, 144, 147, 148, 120(B) and 302 read with Section 149 of IPC. The petitioner had approached the Court for bail on an earlier occasion, however, his prayer was not granted. Subsequently, other co-accused were released on bail. The petitioner, in the changed circumstances, filed the instant petition praying to be enlarged on bail on grounds of parity. Learned High Court Government Pleader submitted that the weapon used in the alleged crime was recovered at the instance of the petitioner and hence, his case was not to be considered in parity of the other accused.

The High Court perused the record as well as submissions made on behalf of the parties, and found that the Court, in its earlier order referred to above, considered the entire merit of the case and rejected the bail petition. However, liberty was given to the petitioner to file fresh bail petition after recording of evidence of complainant witnesses. It was an undisputed fact that the evidence of the said witnesses was yet to be recorded. Therefore, the Court was of the opinion that it was not a fit case to exercise judicial discretion in favor of the petitioner-accused. Accordingly, bail was denied and petition was dismissed. [Philips alias Puli v. State, Crl. Petition No. 8243 of 2017, order dated 25.01.2018]