Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: G.K. Ilanthiraiyan, J., allowed a criminal original petition filed by petitioner accused under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The petition was filed for a direction to the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Villupuram to consider petitioner’s bail petition on the same day of his surrender. The petitioner who wanted to surrender and apply for bail in connection with a criminal case registered under the SC/ST Act was represented by C. Prabakaran. While on the other hand, C. Raghavan, Government Advocate appeared for the State.

The High Court while allowing the petition, observed, “In view of the specific bar under Section 18 of SC/ST Act and also taking into consideration of the possibility of misusing the pious intention of the Parliament against innocent persons, there shall be a direction to the Principal District and Sessions Judge to consider the petitioner’s bail application, preferably on the same day of their surrender and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law after affording due opportunity to the victim under Section 15(a) of the SC/ST Act”. The petition was disposed of in the terms above. [Sethu v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 658, dated 04-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Bench of S.A. Dharmadhikari, J. allowed the bail application of an accused whose two previous bail applications had been dismissed on merit.

The applicant was accused of committing offence under Sections 457 and 380 of the Penal Code, 1860. Two bail applications filed by him had been repeatedly dismissed on merits. It was argued by him that he had been kept in custody since May, 2018 but charges against him had not yet been framed and there was a huge delay in the trial. Applicant submitted that his co-accused had been released on bail and thus only he cannot be kept in jail for an indefinite period.

The respondent submitted that no case for grant of bail was made out because as many as twelve criminal cases were pending against the applicant. Applicant’s counter was that out of these twelve cases, he had been acquitted in eight cases whereas four cases were pending in trial.

The Court noted observed that prolonged pre-trial detention is an anathema to the concept of liberty and allowed the applicant to be released on bail subject to furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh.[Dharampal Pardi v. State of MP, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 34, Order dated 07-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Sadhana S. Jadhav and Anuja Prabhudesai, JJ. dismissed a third bail application filed by a convict in a case for the offences under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC.

Allegations against the applicant were that on the day of the incident, the deceased (waiter in the hotel concerned), was serving the applicant and his friends during which some water spilled on the table. A quarrel took place after which the waiter proceeded towards Police Station to lodge a complaint. It was alleged that the applicant took a bamboo stick from his car and inflicted a blow on the waiter’s head which resulted in his death. The applicant faced a trial, at the conclusion of which he was convicted as mentioned above. The applicant filed a bail application pending the appeal, however, it was dismissed. Having failed on two earlier occasions, the present third bail application was filed seeking suspension of sentence and release on bail.

Referring to State of Maharashtra v. Buddhikota Subha Rao, 1989 Supp 2 SCC 605 the High Court observed that there is an embargo on filing repeated bail applications on same facts to ensure some degree of finality to the order passed and to maintain judicial discipline and proprietary. It was noted that the present application was not filed on the ground of a change in circumstances. It was observed, ” the mere fact that some of the grounds which were available were not raised in the previous application or that the said grounds are not reflected in the previous order would not justify entertaining subsequent bail application.” In such view of the matter, the application was dismissed. [Ashok Pundalik Gavade v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 155, dated 30-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Bench of Sanjay Kumar Gupta, J., disposed of a bail application against a juvenile on various grounds stated by the petitioner including the ground for furtherance of his son’s (accused) education.

The facts of the case are the accused was a juvenile at the time of commissioning of the offences. Despite that, he was arrested and was kept in the police lockup.

The petitioner filed a bail application before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate. It transferred the bail application of the applicant to the Juvenile Justice Board. The Juvenile Justice Board ordered the respondent to shift the juvenile to the place of safety (observation home). Juvenile Justice Board rejected the bail application filed by the petitioner.

The petitioner contended that the juvenile was preparing for Medical Entrance Examination and the Board instead of adopting reformative approach took resort to a strict view which has not only curtailed his freedom / personal liberty but also caused a great blow to the educational /professional career of the juvenile.

The respondents argued that that son of the petitioner was involved in heinous offence under Sections 354-B/376-D RPC and Section 6 J&K POCFSV and in this regard the FIR should stand registered. The case fell within the ambit of rarest of the rare case, therefore, there was a  rider and embargo for grant of bail to the son of the petitioner.

The Court disposed of the bail application by giving liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh application before the trial court where the challan against the son of the petitioner was pending. It also ordered that any observation made by the Juvenile Justice Board should not come in the way of the trial court in deciding the fresh application. [Vinayak Sharma v. State of J&K, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1045, Order dated 24-12-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ. while allowing an appeal, set aside the impugned order of the Gujarat High Court which clearly violated the settled principles of criminal law jurisprudence and statutory prescriptions.

The brief facts of the case were that, an FIR was lodged against Respondent 2 under Sections 376(2)(f) and 376(2)(i) IPC and Sections 4, 5(c)(f)(m), 6, 8, 9(c)(f)(m) and 10 of  the POCSO Act, by the appellant who was the grandmother of the victim. In the present case, the victim was a minor aged 7 years. Respondent 2 was apprehended and charge sheet was filed for the same following which the bail application filed by Respondent 2 was granted by the High Court.

The main issue as pointed out to the Court was that the High Court’s order was in clear violation of the settled principles of criminal law jurisprudence and statutory prescriptions.

The reasons pointed out for the above was that the High Court had directed accused as well as the appellant along with the parents of the victim to undergo scientific tests viz., lie detector, brain mapping, and Narco Analysis. Further, the learned Judge of the High Court had in its order revealed the identity of the “victim”.

The Supreme Court on noting the facts and circumstances of the present case along with highlighting the importance of Section 439 CrPC, 1973 as the guiding principle of adjudicating a bail application, stated that, the High Court in ordering the tests as mentioned above was in contraventions to the principles of criminal law jurisprudence but also violates statutory requirements. The Court highlighted the fact that the matter was converted into a mini-trial by the High Court due to mentioning of the tests.

Further, relying on the decision of State of Punjab v. Ramdev Singh, (2004) 1 SCC 421 in regard to Section 228-A IPC, the Apex Court talked about the ‘identity of the victim’. Sections 33(7) and 23 of the POCSO Act were also mentioned pertaining to the protection of the identity of the victim. Court disapproved the manner in which the High Court adjudicated the bail application and accordingly quashed the High Court order.[Sangitaben Shaileshbhai Datanta v. State of Gujarat,  2018 SCC OnLine SC 2300, dated 29-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Hyderabad High Court: The Single Judge Bench of the High Court refused to grant bail to the primary accused in the shocking murder case of the Mayor of Chittoor, Smt. Katari Anuradha and her husband Katari Mohan.

Out of the 23 accused in the case, the primary accused is the nephew of the deceased couple. This increased the air of gravity associated with the case. Both the accused and the deceased couple held political clout in the region. The accused was tired of holding a secondary position to the deceased. That along with many other rifts caused the accused to commit the murders. The group entered the Mayor’s Chambers in burqas and opened fire on the Mayor. Eyewitnesses intervened and one of them was severely injured. The other deceased fled the scene but was chased down and shot. The injured were taken to the hospital where the other deceased succumbed to his injuries.

The petitioners have staunchly denied the offence and their previous bail application too was rejected. The counsel for the petitioners claimed that the petitioner has been implicated in the crime by his political rivals. There was a delay in filing the FIR which indicated that the petitioner was roped in at a later stage. He negated the statement of the eyewitnesses stating that it made no sense for the petitioner to mask his identity and reveal it by removing his burqa immediately before firing the fatal shot. He also claimed that the petitioner was a law abiding citizen who had surrendered himself and was in custody for the last nineteen months without being proven guilty.

The Public Prosecutor opposed all these contentions. He stated that the gravity and the brutality of the murder were such that the accused deserved no leniency. It was a daylight murder committed before multiple eye-witnesses which showed the brazenness of the accused. The fact that the accused has the nephew of the deceased only added to the gravity of the crime. The Prosecutor further stated that the accused was already involved in multiple criminal cases and committed this crime while on bail. This shows that there is a chance of him committing some other offences while on bail. There was a scope of witness tampering and misuse of political clout if bail was granted.

The Bench of Durga Prasad Rao, J. accepted the contentions of the Public Prosecutor, relying on the parameters laid down in Virupakshappa Gouda v. State of Karnataka, (2017) 5 SCC 406) : (a) severity or gravity of offence; (b) prima facie accusation against the offender; (c) severity of punishment in the event of conviction; (d) chances of accused absconding if granted bail; (e) the propensity of accused repeating the crimes; and (f) reasonable apprehension of the accused influencing the witness and thwart the course of justice.

Accepting these parameters, bail was denied to the petitioner-accused. [Sriram Chandra Sekhar v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine Hyd 214, decided on 03.07.2017]