Allahabad High Court: In an application filed under Section 439, Criminal Procedure Code seeking bail in FIR No. 317 of 2022, registered under Sections 304, 308, 420, 465, and 471 IPC, Police Station Hazratganj, District Lucknow in respect of an unfortunate incident at Hotel Levana Suites, Lucknow on 5-9-2022 at around 7 AM., Dinesh Kumar Singh, J., granted bail as the charge under Sections 304 and 308 IPC may not sustain in a trial and while there may have been some infraction of regulatory requirements to run a hotel, but that would not amount to the accused-applicants having been negligent or that they failed to take due care of their guests or that they had knowledge of fire accident, which would result in death/injuries to the guests staying in the hotel.
The Court noted that to attract the provisions of Section 304 IPC, there must be knowledge of an accused that his act would likely cause death. For example, the case of drunken driving in an inebriated state, under the influence of alcohol would give rise to an inference that the person so driving had the knowledge that his act was likely to cause death.
The Court further noted that the case at hand is not comparable to a case of drunken driving in an inebriated state. The offence under Section 308 IPC may also not get attracted in the facts and circumstances of the case. However, the said question would be decided by the trial court at an appropriate stage.
Thus, the Court opined that it may be difficult for the prosecution to sustain the charge under Sections 304 and 308 IPC as there may have been some infraction of regulatory requirements to run a hotel, but that would not amount that the accused-applicants have been negligent or they failed to take due care of their guests or they had knowledge of fire accident, which would result in death/injuries to the guests.
The Court considered the fact that the charge sheet has already been filed and the accused- applicants are in jail since 5-9-2022 and 6-9-2022 respectively enlarged the accused on bail on furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of Court concerned with the following conditions:
(ii) The applicants shall remain present before the trial court on each date fixed, either personally or through their counsel. In case of their absence, without sufficient cause, the trial court may proceed against them under Section 229-A of the Penal Code, 1860.
(iii) In case, the applicants misuse the liberty of bail during trial and in order to secure their presence proclamation under Section 82 CrPC is issued, and the applicants fail to appear before the court on the date fixed in such proclamation, then the trial court shall initiate proceedings against them, in accordance with law, under Section 174-A of Penal Code, 1860.
(iv) The applicants shall remain present, in person, before the trial court on the dates fixed for opening of the case; framing of charge; and recording of statement under Section 313 CrPC. If in the opinion of the trial court, absence of the applicants is deliberate or without sufficient cause, then it shall be open for the trial court to treat such default as an abuse of liberty of bail and proceed against them in accordance with the law.
[Rahul Agarwal v. State of UP, 2022 SCC OnLine All 814, decided on 28-11-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
J.N. Mathur, Dileep Kumar, learned Senior Advocates, assisted by S/Sri Nadeem Murtaza, Abhinav Singh, Ravi Singh, Anjani Mishra, Amit Jaiswal, Ambrish Singh Yadav, Vikas Vikram Singh, Mohit Singh, G.S. Pandey, Sudhanshu Kumar, Shikhar Neelkanth, Ms. Pooja Singh, Ms. Komal Jaiswal and Ms. Shivangi Pandey, counsel for the accused-applicants and;
S/Sri Anil Kumar Yadav, Prem Narayan Tiwari, Rakesh Kumar Mishra, Ruby Choudhary, Shashank Singh and Zeeshan Alvi, counsel for the complainants/victims and Sri Rao Narendra Singh, AGA.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.