Lack of enthusiasm of ACB, ADGP not relevant for deciding bail application of accused; SC stays Karnataka HC order against ADGP Seemant Kumar Singh

Supreme Court

Supreme Court: In a bail application, after the single judge Bench of Karnataka High Court criticised the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) for their lack of enthusiasm, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has observed that the alleged involvement of the ADGP, and the enthusiasm (or lack thereof) of the ACB officers are irrelevant and beyond the ambit of bail proceedings.

In the case at hand, allegation have been made against the Deputy Commissioner that when the complainant met him, he instructed to meet his Personal Assistant and when the complainant met the Personal Assistant of the Deputy Commissioner, he demanded an amount of Rs.15 lakhs to pass an order in favour of the complainant by the Deputy Commissioner and the same was bargained for Rs.8 lakhs, Rs.5 lakhs and when the complainant agreed to pay a sum of Rs.3 lakhs, insisted him to pay an amount of Rs.5 lakhs and accordingly, the amount was accepted to pass an order in favour of the complainant. A person who is not an employee of the Deputy Commissioner’s office but works in the Appeal Section is said to have collected the amount as per the instructions of the Personal Assistant of the Deputy Commissioner.

Upon noticing that ACB has not taken any action against the Deputy Commissioner despite being provided with all, H.P. Sandesh, J had, in the impugned order of Karnataka High Court, observed that “the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) is not working for the institution for which he has been appointed that too prevention of corruption for which the said institution is established”.

The High Court noticed that the ACB, only after the Court found the material, arraigned the Deputy Commissioner as accused and arrested him and also conducted the raid on the house of Deputy Commissioner. It directed CBI to place the report in respect of the investigation pertaining to ADGP in the cases pending against him on the next date of hearing.

Justice Sandesh went on to narrate an instance that happened on 01.07.2022 in Chief Justice’s Farewell Dinner. He wrote,

“A Hon’ble sitting Judge came and sat by the side of me and stated that he received a call from Delhi (not disclosed the name) and said that the person who called from Delhi, enquired about me and immediately I replied that I am not affiliated to any political party and the Hon’ble Judge did not stop the same there itself and further said that ADGP is from North India and he is powerful and also gave an instance of transfer of Senior Judge of this Court to some other State and told that for no mistake on his part, he was transferred and chances of one side feeding to them”

As shocking as these revelations were, the Supreme Court, however, observed that the impugned proceedings arose out of a bail application under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C.

“Rather than considering the bail application on its merits, the learned Judge has apparently focused on other elements which may not be relevant and are, in our prima facie view, beyond the scope of inquiry in respect of proceedings under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C.”

Considering that the valuable rights of the accused who seeks enlargement on bail under Section 439 Cr.P.C., should not be adversely affected, the Court stayed the proceedings against the ADGP for not being linked to the pleadings of the accused for bail.

The High Court will continue hear and dispose of the bail application of the said accused, expeditiously, without reference to the pendency of the Special Leave Petitions before the Supreme Court.

[Seemant Kumar Singh v. Mahesh PS, Diary No(s).20525/2022, order dated 18.07.2022]


Counsels

Tushar Mehta, SG, Nikhil Goel, AAG. Shubhranshu Padhi, AOR, Ashish Yadav, Adv, Vishal Banshal, Adv., Rajeshwari Shankar, Adv, Mukul Rohatgi, Sr.Adv., Amit Kumar, Sr.Adv., Avijit Mani Tripathi, AOR, Shaurya Sahya, Adv., Aditya Shanker Pandey, Adv,  S.Nagamuthu, Sr.Adv.,  H.S. Chandramouli, Sr.Adv, Anand Sanjay M.Nuli, Adv., M.P. Parthiban, Adv., Agam Sharma, Adv., Keerthana Nagaraj, Adv., M/S. Nuli & Nuli, AOR

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