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]

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