Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Anant S. Dave and Biren Vaishnav, JJ., allowed a regular bail application along with the order of the suspension of the sentence.

The present application was preferred under Section 389 CrPC for the suspension of sentence and grant of bail for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 307, 324, 452, 118 and 114 IPC including a sentence for rigorous imprisonment for life with fine.

It was contended that both the petitioners who were convicts, were only seen abusing, instigating and giving fist blows, none of which constituted towards the injury conferred on the deceased or the injured person by any weapon of assault. Also, the witnesses present confirmed the same. Further, one of the cross-complainants was herself convicted under Section 323 of IPC and thus this version of the alleged allegation cannot be taken into consideration on the account of being untrustworthy. Hence the two incidences that took place on the same date and the nature of quarrel presuppose the involvement of both the parties.

The Court was of the view that the nature of testimonies implicated the petitioners for a limited role and prima facie, no clear or specific role of both the petitioners could be surfaced on record. Accordingly, the court deemed it just and proper to consider their case for suspension of sentence and grant of regular bail as prayed for and allowed the petition. [Kavlaben v. State of Gujarat, CMA No. 1 of 2018 in R/CA No. 611 of 2018, order dated 14-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajbir Sehrawat, J., dealt with an application under Section 439 of CrPC.

The accused was alleged with carrying psychotropic substance with him and FIR was registered against him under Section 22 of NDPS Act, 1985. After being examined by the Chemical Examiner the substance was found to be Alprazolam after which he was kept in custody. Petitioner contended that he had been falsely implicated and denied the presence of any substance with him. His bail application by virtue of Section 37 of NDPS was rejected by Special Judge. Hence, application under Section 439 was filed before this Court.

Petitioner was in custody for one year four months and sixteen days before filing of this petition. Section 37(1)(b)(ii) contains conditions which should be satisfied by Court before granting bail.  According to this section Court requires to prima facie come to satisfaction that the accused is not guilty of the offence alleged against him. This section seems contrary to the principle of presumption of innocence in favour of the accused until proved otherwise. The second part of the section seems humanly impossible as the Court is required to record a satisfaction that the accused would, likely, commit the offence after coming out of the custody, or would not commit any offence after coming out of the custody.

Thus, Court observed that though this part of the Section seems unconstitutional, Court does not have the domain in this petition to deal with this issue. But observed that it had to comply with conditions of Section 37(1)(b)(ii) before granting bail, therefore, Court dealt with the issue of Whether the procedure being insisted by the State; for its plea of denying the bail to petitioner; is non-discriminatory, rational, reasonable and fair procedure or not. Court was of the view that State erred in the same and after considering the conditions of Section 37(1)(b)(ii) being fulfilled, bail was granted to the petitioner. [Ankush Kumar v. State of Punjab,2018 SCC OnLine P&H 1259, dated 09-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Arvind Kumar Mishra, J., addressed a bail application where appellant was alleged under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The instant application was filed by the appellant seeking bail in a Special Sessions Trial where appellant was an accused under Section 20(B)(II)(C) of the Act. It was contended by the appellant that Section 50 of the Act was not complied with, which was mandatory. He further submitted that the packet recovered containing alleged contraband was not weighed individually but entire quantity was weighed together. According to appellant, the informant-police officer committed various discrepancies while weighing the confiscated packets. Whereas, AGA argued that the record shows that mandatory requirements were complied with before search was conducted as it was the appellant himself who chose to be searched before police after which the packets were overall weighed on the spot.

The High Court was of the view that in light of the above facts bail cannot be granted to appellant. Therefore, the bail application was rejected. [Doli v. State of U.P., Criminal Appeal No. 3679 of 2018, Order dated 28-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Raja Vijayaraghavan, J.,  decided a bail application filed under Section 239 of the CrPC wherein it granted bail to the accused because of the default of the prosecution in filing the charge sheet.

The applicant herein was the sixth accused and was remanded to judicial custody on 19.5.2018. He had been languishing in judicial custody for more than 60 days. The counsel on behalf of the applicant submitted that the applicant was entitled to be released on bail on the default of the prosecution in filing the charge sheet within the prescribed period, which was 60 days in the present case.

The High Court observed that more than 60 days had elapsed from the date of remand of the applicant. The final report had not been filed after completion of investigation. The Court held that the applicant had absolute right to be released on bail and it found no reason to refuse the same. The application was accordingly allowed.[Sanal v. State of Kerala,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 3010, dated 09-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Division Bench comprising of A.M. Shaffique and P. Somarajan, JJ., dismissed a criminal appeal wherein, it refused interference with the order passed by the National Investigation Agency Court of refusal to grant bail to the appellant.

In the present case, the Special Court for Trial of NIA Cases rejected the bail application of appellant, i.e., the fifth accused. The appellant is accused to have participated in the criminal conspiracy. It was also alleged that the appellant had helped the other accused persons in absconding from the crime scene by providing a vehicle and was involved in two other crimes. The NIA Court, on consideration, dismissed the bail application against which the present was preferred.

The High Court observed that the appellant was on a different footing than other accused persons to whom bail was granted, as the allegation was that he had provided a vehicle to the assailants to escape from the place of occurrence. The Court also found that the appellant took the assailants to a safe place and provided them with medical treatment in connection with the injury alleged to have been sustained by them during the course of commission of offence. All these would prima facie show that he had played a prominent role in the commission of offence. The Court held that it saw no ground for interference with the order passed by the NIA Court. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [K. A. Najeeb v. National Investigation Agency,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 2946, dated 01-08-2018]

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]