HP HC | Pre-trial incarceration needs justification depending upon nature and term of offence

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Anoop Chitkara, J. granted anticipatory bail to the petitioners and observed that the Court is under constitutional obligation to safeguard the interests of the victim, the accused, the society and the State while granting anticipatory bail.

The factual matrix of the present case is as follows:

The complainant Angesh Vimal, ASTEO NPB, Baddi, on receiving secret information about a  truck transporting illicit liquor stopped the truck in Baddi area which was bound from Panchukala to Mandi and nabbed the driver Mohinder Singh, conducted inquiries and it was revealed that the truck contained eggs but on further search, huge quantity of liquor of brand Una No. 1 was recovered. The Complainant then informed Suresh Thakur, ACSTENPB, Baddi and the police who reached at the spot within few minutes who on seizure and unloading recovered 835 boxes of illicit liquor without any permit. He revealed that contractor Kamal Kishore who is the owner of the liquor had got these boxes loaded at Panchkula and was escorting this truck in his XUV vehicle. Kamal Kishore was investigated and arrested and the truck was found to be of Manoj Kumar who was in the business of illicit trafficking of liquor and has vends in Ghumarwin. He further revealed that he has purchased liquor from Naushad Alam, and his associate from Delhi, Kulwinder was arrested who revealed that Naushad Alam works in a liquor factory near Kala Amb. Later, police on bringing Kulwinder from Delhi to Baddi came to know that Naushad Alam works in Himachal Spirit Company as Manager.

The petitioner Mohammad Junaid was apprehending arrest and hence the instant petition under Section 438 CrPC.

The present case is represented by counsel Javed Khan for the petitioners and Rita Goswami and Nand Lal Thakur with Yudhbir Singh Thakur for the respondents.

The Court relied on the Judgments Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 565 and Siddharam Satingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 1 SCC 694 and held that custodial investigation of the petitioner/accused is not going to serve any purpose. Few factors and parameters can be taken into consideration while dealing with the anticipatory bail and no inflexible guidelines or straitjacket formula can be provided for grant or refusal of anticipatory bail. The question of whether to grant bail or not depends on its answer upon a variety of circumstances, the cumulative effect of which must enter into the judicial verdict. Any one single circumstance cannot be treated as of universal validity or as necessarily justifying the grant or refusal of bail.”

In view of the above facts, arguments and observations, the prayer was granted.[Mohammad Junaid v. State of H.P., 2020 SCC OnLine HP 296, decided on 28-02-2020]

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