Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 438 CrPC holding that freedom of an individual cannot be curtailed for an indefinite period without there being a finding of guilt.

The petitioner was accused of having disproportionate assets for which an FIR was registered. The petitioner, who was  Managing Director of H.P. State Forest Development Corpn. Ltd. apprehended arrest in the case which was registered under Sections 13(1)(e) and 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 read with Section 120-B IPC. He prayed for grant of anticipatory bail.

The High Court perused the record and noted that the bail petitioner had already joined the investigation and was fully cooperating; the guilt of the petitioner, if any, was yet to be proved. The Court relied on Dataram v. State of U.P.,(2018) 3 SCC 22 wherein it was held that a fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, meaning thereby that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. The Court reiterated that object of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused in the trial, an object of bail is neither punitive not preventive. Considering the facts noted above, the Court found it a fit case to exercise jurisdiction in favour of the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was enlarged on anticipatory bail. [Chandra Shekhar Singh v. State of H.P.,  2018 SCC OnLine HP 857, dated 06-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Dipak Misra, C.J. and A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ. upheld the bail granted to a rape offender by the Hon’ble Hyderabad High Court.

In the present petition, the learned bench of the Supreme Court Judges by emphasising on the essence of “consent” in a sexual relationship heard the contentions of the parties and arrived on a decision. The accused was charged under Sections 376, 342, 493, 506 and 354 (C) of the Indian Penal Code for which he was granted anticipatory bail by the sessions judge which was further cancelled on the ground that the accused had hidden the fact of his involvement in the 2G Spectrum case and the stated order was affirmed by the High Court.

The High Court on receipt of the bail application filed by the accused had granted bail with a bond of Rs. 50,000.  For the granted bail, the learned counsel of the appellant submitted that the allegations on the accused were of grave nature involving rape of an aspiring actress and on filing a complaint in that regard, she came across a large number of threats at her end in order to withdraw the filed complaint.

On considering the submissions of the parties, Supreme Court agreed and found “no fault” on the part of  the High Court in granting anticipatory bail to the accused as the ground of the complainant in the issue was of rape, though it had been noted that the complainant had visited the accused on her own will which lead the Court towards the “consensual” relationship between the complainant and the accused. Therefore, the Supreme Court without making any further delay in the present case stated that bail once granted should not be cancelled unless or a cogent case based on a supervening event is being made out. Further, bail granted was not cancelled, though the bond was modified to Rs. 10 lakhs. [X v. State of Telangana,2018 SCC OnLine SC 549, decided on 17-05-2018]

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]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court:  Attorney General KK Venugopal, seeking stay on the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act, said that the Court cannot make rules or guidelines which go against the law passed by the legislature. He said that  the SC/ST verdict had resulted in loss of life and hence, the matter should be referred to a larger bench.

The Bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ, however, said that it was 100 per cent in favour of protecting the rights of these communities and punishing those guilty of atrocities against them. It said that while deciding on the verdict on the SC/ST Act, it had considered every aspect and all the judgments before reaching a conclusion.

The Centre had moved the Supreme Court on April 2 seeking review of its judgement by which safeguards were put on the provisions for immediate arrest under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Centre said that the verdict has “diluted” the stringent provisions of the Act, resulting in great damage to the country by causing anger and a sense of disharmony among the people.

Several states were rocked by wide spread violence and clashes following a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by several SC/ST organisations protesting the top court’s March 20 order, that claimed eight lives. While hearing the Centre’s review petition on April 3, the Court had asserted that “no provisions of SC/ST Act have been diluted” and clarified that additional safeguards had been put in place “to protect the fundamental rights” of innocents. The Court said:

“A perusal of the order of this Court makes it clear that there is no bar to compensation or other immediate relief being given to the victim member of the SC/ST as per the provisions noted above without any delay whatsoever. There is also no bar to registration of F.I.R. under any provision of the penal code or any other law and the offences under the SC/ST Act being added later, if necessary. Thus, there is no dilution of any provision of the SC/ST Act relating to compensation, trial, punishment or otherwise.”

The Court has refused to stay the March 20 verdict till it decided the Centre’s review petition.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While hearing the review petition filed by the Central Government against the judgement dated 20.03.2018, the Bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit refused to stay the SC/ST Act verdict. The Government has filed the review petition after the Dalit outfits called for a nationwide Bandh on Monday i.e. 02.04.2018 against the verdict of the Court. At least nine people have been killed across the country due to violent protests which marred the Bharat Bandh.

The grounds for review as pointed out by Attorney General KK Venugopal are:

  • as per Rule 12(4) and (4A) read with Annexure-I of the 2016 Amendment to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, immediate compensation or other assistance has to be given to victim belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. If there is delay in preliminary inquiry, payment of such compensation or other immediate relief may be delayed.
  • there may be offences under the provision of the Indian Penal Code or any other law and direction to hold preliminary inquiry may delay registration of case in respect of such other offences also.
  • the directions are in conflict with the provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Stating that the order only safeguards abuse of power of arrest or of false implication of an innocent without in any manner affecting the rights of the members of the SC/ST, the Court said:

“A perusal of the order of this Court makes it clear that there is no bar to compensation or other immediate relief being given to the victim member of the SC/ST as per the provisions noted above without any delay whatsoever. There is also no bar to registration of F.I.R. under any provision of the penal code or any other law and the offences under the SC/ST Act being added later, if necessary. Thus, there is no dilution of any provision of the SC/ST Act relating to compensation, trial, punishment or otherwise.”

In it’s verdict, the Bench had acknowledged the abuse of law of arrest in cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (the Atrocities Act) and had 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. It said:

“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.”

During the hearing of the review petition, the Court again said:

“we are not against the Act but innocent should not be punished.”

Noticing that the matter may have to be heard and considered further, the Court asked all parties to submit detailed replies within two days and listed the matter after 10 days. [Union of India v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 323, order dated 03.04.2018]

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

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 438 of CrPC, wherein the prayer to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioners was denied holding that it would affect the investigation.

An FIR was registered against the petitioners under Sections 20 and 29 of the NDPS Act. The petitioners were named in the case by another accused Saleem, who was found in possession of the commercial quantity of contraband substance ‘charas’. The petitioners were absconding since arrest of the said Saleem. The petitioners prayed that they be granted anticipatory bail while the prosecution submitted that the investigation is still at early stages and if the petitioners are enlarged on bail, it might affect the investigation.

The High Court, while discussing the parameters which need to be considered while dealing with anticipatory bail, held that one of the parameters was that balance has to be struck between two factors, namely, no prejudice should be caused to free, fair and full investigation; and there should be prevention of harassment, humiliation and unjustified detention of the accused. The Court found that the investigation was at the initial stages and if at that stage the petitioners were enlarged on bail, the investigation would be hampered and there were chances that the petitioners would tamper with the prosecution evidence. The Court also took into account the seriousness of the offence, the fact that the petitioners were likely to flee from justice and the quantity of the recovered contraband was also found to be more than one kilogram, which was a commercial quantity. Thus, the Court was of the view that there was every likelihood that in case the petitioners were enlarged on bail it would effect free, fair and full investigation of the case, thus the balance was in favor of free, fair and full investigation and judicial discretion to admit the petitioners on bail could not be exercised in their favor. Accordingly, the bail was denied and the petition was dismissed. [Amru Ram v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 161, order dated 27.2.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Himachal Pradesh: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J., decided a criminal miscellaneous petition, wherein the petitioner-accused was granted anticipatory bail in a criminal case registered under Sections 328 and 376 of IPC, giving due consideration to the fact of marriage between the petitioner and the prosecutrix.

The case against the petitioner was that he and the prosecutrix worked in the same company. The petitioner invited the prosecutrix to her house on the pretext that he wanted her to meet his parents. However, when the prosecutrix reached his house, the petitioner gave her drink and sexually assaulted her, made MMS and subsequently blackmailed the prosecutrix on various occasions. It was also alleged that the petitioner promised to marry the prosecutrix and even on that pretext, sexually assaulted her many times. The petitioner submitted that he was innocent and prayed to be released on bail.

The High Court perused the record and found that in her statement under Sections 161 and 164 of CrPC, the prosecutrix stated that in subsequent events, the petitioner had married her, which fact was found to be true in the police investigation. She also stated that the petitioner had not prepared any MMS or clicked her obscene photos. Considering the statement of the prosecutrix and in light of the fact that the petitioner and the prosecutrix have been married; the Court thought it to be a fit case to exercise its judicial discretion in favor of the petitioner. Accordingly, the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Amarjit Singh v. State of H.P., 2018 SCC OnLine HP 2, order dated 1.1.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Himachal Pradesh: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sandeep Sharma, J. granted anticipatory bail to the petitioners in an application filed under Section 438 CrPC, holding that object of the bail is to secure attendance of the accused in the trial and the proper test to be applied while deciding bail application is whether it is probable that the party will appear to take his trial.

The petitioners were co-accused in a criminal case under Sections 342, 323, 377, 149, etc. of IPC. It was alleged that the petitioners were present in the room while the main accused committed unnatural intercourse with the complainant, and they were also alleged to have given thrashings to the complainant. Learned counsel for the petitioners contended that no overt act was alleged against the petitioners and prayed for grant of bail.

The High Court perused the record and found that there were no specific allegations against the bail petitioners, indicative of the fact that injuries allegedly caused on the body of the complainant were caused by the bail petitioners, who allegedly were present in the room. The Court was of the opinion that though the involvement of bail petitioners in the offence alleged against them was to be considered and decided by the learned Trial Court, but the High Court after having taken note of the material available on record, saw no reason to keep the bail petitioners in custody for indefinite period, especially when guilt of the petitioners was still to be proved.

The High Court referred to Apex Court decisions to hold 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. Gravity alone cannot be decisive ground to deny bail, rather competing factors are required to be balanced by the court while exercising its discretion.

The Court was of the view that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the petitioners could not be allowed to be incarcerated in jail for an indefinite period. Accordingly, the petitioners were granted anticipatory bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Mahinder Pal Singh alias Raja v. State of H.P.,  2017 SCC OnLine HP 1666, dated 28.11.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In relation to the Pradyuman Thakur case, the owners of Ryan School- Pintos approached the High Court with their anticipatory bail application in FIRs for offences punishable under S. 302 of thePenal Code, S. 25 of Arms Act, S. 75 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2005 and S. 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 at Police Station Bhondsi, Gurugram.

The child was brutally murdered on morning of 8th September, 2017. Counsel for the petitioners submitted that even CBI- the investigation agency entrusted with the investigation of this case did not feel that there was any need or necessity to call the petitioners for investigation. However, they said that the main stress of CBI is on the point that there was some negligence on the part of school authority and lapse in security of students. The counsel apprised the Court of the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Pinto are trustees of Saint Xavier’s Education Trust, which is running around 54 schools throughout India and contended that the trustees are never involved in the direct administration of their institutes and only thing they do is to take policy decisions.

Also, the petitioners said that while CBI was looking for the conspiracy angle of the case but has not found any evidence regarding involvement of the petitioners. Another important contention by the petitioner was that CBI was refusing their bail application only with the plea that there is possibility of their being member of the conspiracy behind the murder of a student, however, S. 120-B IPC has not been added in this case so far.

CBI on the other hand opposed the bail application stating that the investigation is at a crucial stage, as such, grant of anticipatory bail to the petitioners will hamper the further investigation. The Court on hearing both the parties observed that the status of petitioners with regard to the management of the school in which crime was committed, is yet to be ascertained. It further noted that it will also be a point of investigation for CBI as to whether the petitioners, while living in Mumbai, are directly responsible for any lapse of the Administration in the school.

Surinder Gupta, J. noted that till now in the investigation, there was not even a single pointer towards the petitioners of their involvement in the crime and some negligence on part of the trustees in administration of the school would not act as evidence of their involvement in commission of murder until there is a substantial proof directing that. Hence, the Court granted them the anticipatory bail along with the directions that they must make themselves available for interrogation by the investigating agency as and when required and not to directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the accusation against them so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or to investigating agency. [Ryan Augustine Pinto v. State of Haryana,  2017 SCC OnLine P&H 3063, decided on 21.11.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The Court recently had to decide upon anticipatory bail application under Section 438 CrPC. The case was registered against the petitioner under Sections 420, 467, 468, 120-B IPC jointly by 46 persons (workers of Municipal corporation) for allegedly alluring them by promising to them falsely hope of obtaining permanent Class IV jobs in the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, by taking amounts of money ranging from Rs.50,000/- to Rs.3,00,000/- per person for procuring permanent job openings.

The Court observed that the allegations on the petitioner were quite serious. The Court took note of another important fact that the petitioner was involved even in making of fake identity cards. For the allegations stated in the FIR, the Court thought it to be essential to refer the accused/petitioner for custodial interrogation and outrightly rejected his argument regarding inadmissibility of evidence specifically at such a nascent stage.

Rajiv Narayan Raina, J. went on to say that if he is granted the anticipatory bail, it would hinder the investigation by police as well as it’ll deprive them of the chances to recover the money of complainants and the forged documents which might further prove detrimental to the prosecution’s case.

The Court invoked the well-settled principle of law that the order of anticipatory bail cannot be allowed to circumvent normal procedure of arrest and effective investigation by the police. The Court further explained that the provision of anticipatory bail must not act as an in-road in the statutory investigation by the police. It being mindful of the difficulties that the investigating agency might have to face dismissed the petition. [Sukhwinder Singh @ Raju v. State of Punjab,  2017 SCC OnLine P&H 2205, decided on 06.07.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The High Court granted anticipatory bail to the Ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri H.D. Kumaraswamy (petitioner) in a criminal case registered for offences punishable under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 409, 201 read with Section 120 (B) of IPC, etc.

The petitioner was arrayed as the third respondent in the F.I.R. registered in connection to the above mentioned offences. The case related to the concocting of documents/permits as if issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, GOI to lift the iron ore mined between 1965 to 1985. The allegation against the petitioner was that he pressurized the second accused to issue permission to shift the said mineral, knowing fully well that no forest clearance certificate was taken by the first accused.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the same allegations were subject-matter of another criminal case in which he was already granted bail. While the Special Public Prosecutor submitted that during the relevant period, the petitioner was the Minister for Industries and Commerce under which the Department of Mines and Geology was functioning, thus he was directly involved in the subsequent offence.

The Court perused the submissions and the case diary and found that the alleged incident was ten years old; the financial transaction that took place was all available in the records, the subject matter of the present case was same as that of the case referred to above. The petitioner apprehended that if for any reason he is arrested, that will mar his further career. He also undertook to co-operate with the investigating officer.

In light of the above, the Court held that, there was no impediment to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail subject to the conditions imposed. [Sri. H.D. Kumaraswamy v. State of Karnataka, 2017 SCC OnLine Kar 1806, dated August 10, 2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The High Court recently dealt with a petition for anticipatory bail under Sec. 438 of the CrPC wherein the petitioner apprehended arrest at the hands of the Police under certain sections of the Penal Code, 1860.

The facts of the case is that the petitioner had previously filed for anticipatory bail before the same Court which was rejected on the basis of misappropriation of funds by the petitioner and submission of the Prosecution that custodial interrogation of the accused was imperative in this case. Following this, the petitioner again applied for anticipatory bail before the Principal District and Sessions Judge, wherein he also suppressed the information of his previous application being dismissed. Once this was brought to the notice of the Judge, his application was again rejected which is when the petitioner applied for the anticipatory bail in question, before this Court.

The Government Advocate contended that the facts of the case have seen no changes ever since the dismissal of the previous applications and with the investigation still pending owing to the Petitioner absconding, it’s important that the application for anticipatory bail, this time too, is dismissed.

The Bench of A.M. Basheer Ahamed, J., held that since the petitioner in the bail application which the Court was dealing with had suppressed the information of the dismissal of his previous applications and the respondents had not brought that crucial piece of information to the notice of the Court, the application shall be considered and the petitioner would be granted anticipatory bail. The Court also considered the fact that the respondent had not taken sufficient measures to secure the petitioner which also played a role in the decision it took.

The Court thus allowed the petitioner with anticipatory bail taking into consideration the attitude of the respondent along with the facts. [Narayanan v. The State Rep. by the Inspector of Police Kadaladi Police Station, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 3007, decided on 30.06.2017]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with a pivotal question as to whether the High Court while refusing to exercise inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC to interfere in an application for quashment of the investigation, can restrain the investigating agency not to arrest the accused persons during the course of investigation, the Court said that this kind of order is really inappropriate and unseemly and has no sanction in law.

Stating that such direction “amounts” to an order granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC, albeit without satisfaction of the conditions of the said provision, the bench of Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, JJ said that the court cannot issue a blanket order restraining arrest and it can only issue an interim order and the interim order must also conform to the requirement of the section and suitable conditions should be imposed.

It was held that the High Court should be well advised that while entertaining petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 CrPC, exercise judicial restraint. The Court, if it thinks fit, regard being had to the parameters of quashing and the self-restraint imposed by law, has the jurisdiction to quash the investigation and may pass appropriate interim orders as thought apposite in law, but it is absolutely inconceivable and unthinkable to pass an order of the present nature while declining to interfere or expressing opinion that it is not appropriate to stay the investigation.  The Courts should oust and obstruct unscrupulous litigants from invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the Court on the drop of a hat to file an application for quashing of launching an FIR or investigation and then seek relief by an interim order. It is the obligation of the court to keep such unprincipled and unethical litigants at bay. [State of Telangana v. Habib Abdullah Jeelani, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 23, decided on 06.01.2017]